Drooling From One Side of the Mouth
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Reviewed By:

Bret Mobley, MD, MS

Bret Mobley, MD, MS (Neuropathology)

Dr. Mobley graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, completing a masters degree in neuroscience between his second and third years of medical school. He trained as a resident in pathology at Stanford University Hospital before joining the faculty of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville Tennessee in 2010. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018 and to Neuropathology Division Director in 2020.

Shohei Harase, MD

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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Content updated on Jan 4, 2023

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  • When drinking water, it spills from one side of the mouth

  • Drooling only from one side of the mouth

  • Water spills from one side of the mouth

  • Mouth leaks/drips liquid from one side

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About the Symptom

Drooling is when saliva comes out of your mouth. Swallowing problems, muscle control issues, or excessive saliva production can cause drooling. It can also occur during sleep if you sleep with your mouth open.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Drooling from one side of the mouth

Possible causes

Generally, Drooling from one side of the mouth can be related to:

  • Parkinson disease (PD)

    A progressive nervous system disorder affecting movement. It occurs due to nerve cell damage in the brain. The exact cause for PD is unknown. Risk factors include genetics, male gender, old age, and exposure to certain toxins and environmental factors.

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) disease in which the immune system attacks parts of the brain and spinal cord. The direct cause of MS remains unknown, but certain risk factors have been identified such as low vitamin D levels, tobacco smoking, exposure to UV radiation, childhood obesity, and infection with the virus that causes mononucleosis. The disease tends to affect young people more commonly as well as people living in higher latitudes. MS typically occurs in "attacks" which can include but are not limited to painful eye movements, blurry vision in one eye, numbness or weakness in hands or feet on one side, or double vision.

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Drooling from one side of the mouth may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Bell's palsy

    Characterized by sudden weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles, Bell's palsy is usually temporary and occurs on one side of the face. The exact cause is unknown but is believed to be due to swelling and inflammation of the nerve controlling the facial muscles or viral infection. Anyone can be affected by this condition, but pregnant women, those with lung infections, and those with a family history of the condition are at higher risk.

  • Tetanus
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you drool from one side of your mouth when drinking?

  • Do you struggle with pronouncing words correctly?

  • Do you struggle to control your facial muscles?

  • Is it hard to open your mouth?

  • Is swallowing difficult for you (e.g. with food or water)?

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Find Similar Symptoms

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Reviewed By:

Bret Mobley, MD, MS

Bret Mobley, MD, MS (Neuropathology)

Dr. Mobley graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School, completing a masters degree in neuroscience between his second and third years of medical school. He trained as a resident in pathology at Stanford University Hospital before joining the faculty of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville Tennessee in 2010. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018 and to Neuropathology Division Director in 2020.

Shohei Harase, MD

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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