When my purse started filling up with crumpled used Kleenex from constantly dabbing at the corners of my mouth to control saliva leakage, I made an appointment with my doctor – and, then, immediately canceled it. Why take the time and spend the money on a guy with “M.D.” after his name when I could just go to my trustworthy medical source known as Google. This was an embarrassing problem and I needed to deal with it in the privacy of my own home (yeah, I know, privacy with Google?).
My “Google, M.D.” diagnosed the problem as a condition brought on by aging from weakened muscles which control the mouth and neck. Those laugh lines that supposedly give our face “character” are great conduits for saliva dribbling down our chin. A friend of mine developed an infection in the creases around her mouth from excessive drooling, so this condition is not to be taken lightly.
There are serious reasons for constant and copious drooling. It can occur in people who have medical or neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, stroke or ALS. Since drooling can be caused by excess saliva in the mouth, acid reflux and pregnancy may increase saliva production. (Obviously, pregnancy can be ruled out for the purposes of this blog.) I would be negligent in not advising anyone, no matter what age, to seek the advice from a doctor if drooling symptoms are impacting their life or are excessive.
In my post-menopausal world, I found that applying a lip balm or Vaseline can help prevent saliva from leaking out the corners of my mouth. Wearing a mask during the COVID pandemic certainly helped in absorbing the drool. (There’s always a silver lining to any cloud!) I considered Botox but have had enough of needles during this past year. Keeping a supply of Kleenex and Vaseline is cheaper and has no side effects!