Does everyone with Parkinson’s disease struggle with drooling?

A columnist responds to her dad's concern about the symptom

Mary Beth Skylis avatar

by Mary Beth Skylis |

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Drooling is embarrassing. I’ve caught myself spacing out with a trickle of saliva slipping out of my lips before. I can’t help but peer around the room to see if anyone noticed. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

My dad recently explained to me that he gets nervous about drooling. While it’s not currently a huge issue for him, he has noticed other people with Parkinson’s disease struggling with drooling. And he wants to do everything he can to prevent this symptom from affecting his life.

So he asked me to help him find solutions. He wanted to know: Why does drooling happen? Does everyone with Parkinson’s disease drool? And are there at-home remedies or exercises that can help to prevent it?

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Why does drooling happen?

There are a few different reasons why drooling might happen for people with Parkinson’s disease. Some experience an overproduction of saliva. Others might have difficulty swallowing, which is known as dysphagia. This symptom is relatively common among those with neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.

Drooling is commonly reported among Parkinson’s patients, along with changes in chewing and swallowing. As those vital activities become more difficult, it can affect a patient’s ability to prevent drooling. But not everyone experiences this symptom.

I encouraged Dad to talk to his neurologist about his concerns, since they seem to cause anxiety. I also hope that he’ll take his fate into his own hands and experiment with anti-drooling exercises to see if a particular strategy might help. I know he sometimes struggles to swallow, so it makes sense that he might benefit from some facial and throat exercises.

Some people experience relief from drooling by strengthening the lips and throat muscles. Parkinson’s UK suggests practicing large grins, puckering the lips, and blowing air into the cheeks to strengthen facial muscles. Implementing resistance training for the tongue could also help improve swallowing.

The Parkinson’s Foundation recommends sucking on hard candy or chewing gum. “Candy and gum activate the jaw and the automatic swallowing reflex and can help clear saliva, providing temporary relief from drooling,” the foundation notes.

Dad mentioned that he does suck on hard candy sometimes, and it seems to help activate his jaw and prompt swallowing.

The foundation also lists several medications that might help to reduce saliva production. Always speak with your doctor before starting or stopping any type of treatment.

Do you or someone you love experience drooling as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease? If you’d like to share, please leave a comment below. 

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


DL Hooper avatar

DL Hooper

Drooling appears to be due to excess salt for me.

Jan Stather avatar

Jan Stather

In the last few months my husband has started drooling on a regular basis. It was mostly when he was sleeping but now it can happen at any time of the day. I’ve asked him if he has trouble swallowing but he says not. The trouble is, sometimes he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. Next time we see the PD Nurse I’m going to tell her about it and ask what can be done to stop, or lessen, it happening.

elizabeth donli avatar

elizabeth donli

MY PD, (THO AS I LEARNED MORE, SX BEGAN 15+ years prion to DX) presented acutely in 2019 with excessive drooling and rhinorrhea clear fluid such that I had to wear a towel around my neck! The only other signs were falling down and slurred speech & constipation. I was fortunately NON-TREMOR Dominant stage 4 @ dx. Drooling & rhinorrhea resolved with my based plant-based therapy, intensive physical therapy , and TIW Chinese acupuncture ; I achieved a stage two. in 12 / 2021 I was hit with BTI OMICRON, not hospitalized but nearly died for PHYSICIAN Lack of information
and willingness to work with me using non-FDA approved medications. by June 2022 I had restored my brain from omicron (much insight gained from news on ZEE NEWS FROM INDIA, ISRAIL21C Research, Australia, Cambridge etc. (my controls were level of tinnitus and accommodation disorder-- double vision. My painful and expensive journey way not over : July 2022 long Covid
(PASC) I presented with acute persistent insomnia x 2-1/2 mos along with addition to three separate rashes, crushing intermittent joint pain, dental and hair loss. eventually I was able to restart PT--but in late April 2023 I noted rapid rapid weight loss, excessive profuse clear drooling and rhinorrhea : only when upright or moving or . I had obvious neurodegeneration but not progression of Parkinson's! I told my trainer I did not feel like my feet were touching the floor, my legs were rubbery, I rapidly developed central instability unlike any PD symptom I passed through on my road to recovery from omicron ( freezing, slowness of movement, joint locking, worsening of speech--all the new signs and symptoms did not look like anything I had seen experienced nor read about previously).

Not knowing at that point much at all in specific about PASC,
i browsed WASTING, my outstanding sign (in addition to exercise intolerance secondary to what I now understand to be secondary to microclots blocking 02 from getting into my brain and body).

wasting took me to misfolded protein disorders, specifically
PRION DIDEASES. I embraced the possibility of chronic wasting disease CWD , a pro Tien miss folding prion disease of cervids-- rapid weight loss, drooling, NEUROdegeneration floppy ears ( I presumed from breakdown of cartilage secondary to malnutrition). I found a map from University of Wisconsin (many many cervids--Whitetail deer, moose, elk) which revealed a cluster of sightings reported by ZIP Code in north Florida, where I had been feeding the Whitetail deer morning and evening daily in my bare feet in the national park where I spent winters at my mobile home until 2019.

As my neurodegeneration progressed rapidly, I came upon a wealth of information about long Covid--PASC. I learned of cytokine storm, pARKINSON’S disease , parkinsonism, Alzheimer's and amyloid production..... AND PROTEIN MISFOLDING , including reported cases of CJD--a true fatal PRION DISEASE!

I am now attempting to see if there is a correlation between the drooling of PD (as we know, a protein misfolding disorder), and possibility of PRION protein misfolding .
Since I have yet to find a practitioner who knows anything anything at all about PASC, I am flying by my guts in my management. MULTIPLE excellent anti-inflammatory and immune modulating plant extracts appear to be ameliorating the crushing joint pain,
A new glutathione brand is clearing my skin of rashes. However,
neurodegeneration persists and worsens.

is there a connection between PRION proteins and PARKINSON’S disease? That is where my research is going.

because I am now bedridden= Exercise impossible because of SOB tachycardia to 150, my PARKINSON’S is worsening somewhat.

I do not have an appointment with a benign hematologist to relieve me of the micro clots of lony Covid until mid October (schedules in May 2023 . Have interest to me here is the person who noted increase with sitting up, decreased with sitting back.

MY information probably adds scant insight for folks here, but thought I would toss in my experience.

Lyn Richards avatar

Lyn Richards

Hi Mary Beth, I encourage your Dad to request a referral to a speech and language pathologist.— ideally one with a special interest in PD issues. They can provide a wealth of information about causes and management of drooling in PD, as well as the problems related to swallowing that he already has and weak voice issues that tend to be associated with these difficulties. This may be free through health coverage (as it was for me here in BC) or covered by extended health plans. Even if there's no coverage of costs, it would be well worth paying out of pocket, since it's going to make a big difference to how he feels in social situations and going out in public.

George Sharp avatar

George Sharp

yes i suffer from drooling my doc told me it was i didn't swallow enough but it is a bit more than that some days it is much more than swallowing i do tend to make much more saliva it is one of the Parkinson's things that i truly hate mines gets to the point where i speak a lot less because I am always got a mouth full of saliva i make a point of trying to dry my mouth up before i speak some times it works most of the time it doesn't , so i understand what your father is going through . all the best George

Richard Kidd` avatar

Richard Kidd`

Drooling is my most aggravating thing with Parkinson's. However, I can completely stop it by Reclining in a chair at 35-45 degrees. Also it never happens when i am sleeping. If you do not have a power chair, get one soon, money wisely spent.`

Mike Doughty avatar

Mike Doughty

Drooling is only apparent at night when I wake up from a deep sleep with wet saliva on my arms and sometimes my cheeks. It is embarrassing but I mainly have balance problems and the inability to stand up when I have been seated for any length of time. Oh well I could be worse. Diagnosed in 2018 at 71.

Mike Doughty avatar

Mike Doughty

Ps I use a cops machine regularly

Mike avatar


Mary. Beth and Father,
At this point I do not drool. It is a blessing. I do the Parkinson’s Voice Project’s daily exercise routine. I also do ‘7 Facial Exercises’
that I also find on the computer. I don’t know why I have not been plagued by drooling but I feel very fortunate. Blessings, Mike


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