Something I have always had an aversion to is excess saliva driping or running from a person's mouth....otherwise known as drool. Now, there is an assortment of bodily excretions and eliminations by which one can develop a distinct distain for, but why do babies and the elderly drool? Ok, baby drool, to me is cutesy, no problem there, but babies are supposed to drool, that is a part of the teething process I think? But the elderly, why do they drool, most don't have teeth anymore, mom doesn't. She doesn't even wear her dentures for about a year now. I am going to do some medical research and I will return with my findings!
Ok! Here is the result of my research!
Definition: Drooling is defined as unintentional loss of saliva from the mouth caused by inefficient unco-ordinated swallowing combined with a poorly synchronised lip closure.
Types of drooling:
a. Anterior drooling
b. Posterior drooling
Anterior drooling: In anterior drooling, saliva spills out of the oral cavity through the lips. This is common in infants under the age of 4. Any drooling occuring after the age of 4 should be considered pathological.
Posterior drooling: In posterior drooling saliva spills via the tongue over the fauces of tonsil. This type of drooling caused aspiration of saliva into the lungs.
Causes: (in mom's case)
Elderly individuals because of poor oral muscular inco-ordination
Problems of drooling:
Posterior drooling can cause coughing, gagging and aspiration
Elderly people due to dementia may forget to swallow their saliva and may hence drool.
So there you have it, the reason most elderly drool. Fortunately mom is able to mop up after herself most of the time. I keep a cloth with her all the time so she can catch the drips, wipe off her mouth and chin. Sometimes though she is not alert enough or quick enough to catch it.
A topic probably never discussed before in a blog, and certainly not enjoyable, but as always, keeping it real and telling it like it is!