Parkinson’s Disease Top Tips: Managing Swallowing Issues


The forum is filled with people coming together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled experienced caregivers’ best tips and suggestions for coping with dysphagia and drooling.

Tips for Managing Dysphagia

“Generally speaking, if a person with Parkinson’s disease is dealing with drooling issues, it is because there is a loss in the sensation that tells them they should swallow. In most cases, there is no actual increase in the saliva production. It is actually a decrease in the management of saliva. Medications to reduce saliva production will not help in these cases because the body will continue to produce saliva (even if in smaller amounts) and the patient will continue struggling to manage the saliva that they produce. I would suggest consulting a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP will be able to evaluate their neuro-oral motor function and determine the appropriate interventions.” –superSLP

“Find a local Feldenkrais practitioner who can help with building sensation in the tongue and mouth as well as the posture needed to keep their head up. As they improve their ability to sit and stand in a more supported way, it’ll be easier for them to swallow excess saliva (and food too).” –Irenembl

“I read somewhere about pineapple juice diminishing drooling. We tried it and it works! Serve a cup in the morning and another later in the afternoon. It has changed my husband’s life for the better and cut his drooling by at least half!” –pwestesen

“I recently attended a PD support group and the neurologist that runs it has all of her patients with drooling issues suck on lollipops. She said it worked for all of them.” –Donnamarie1115

“I use bubble gum to minimize my husband’s drooling from Parkinson’s. It seems to help a lot. He has tried other approaches, but nothing else has helped.” –thw1953

“My husband spent his 10 years with Lewy Body Dementia (similar to Parkinson’s) at home. He drooled a lot. It was especially bothersome to him in his final weeks. He kept a big plastic bowl lined with a plastic bag in his bed as his spittoon. The hospice nurse thought he’d be more comfortable (not just look better) if we could decrease the secretions. She brought in motion-sickness patches that travelers use, and put one behind his ear. One of the side effects of the patches is dry mouth. She warned that I should discontinue them if his mouth became overly dry. He was good with them the few weeks before he died, and they really helped!” –jeannegibbs

“Daily neck exercises and thorough massage of the neck, upper back, shoulders and jaw can help. Often the tongue and swallow muscles are not coordinating because a muscle (or two or three) is pulling so tightly that it locks up the others. When they thought my mother with PD had lost the ability to swallow, I massaged the sides of her neck, and suddenly the swallow muscles in the front of her neck could work again. Massage until warm and tingly. Do only one side of the neck at a time.” –Singingway

Ashley Huntsberry-Lett

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Ashley is responsible for the planning and creation of’s award-winning content. As a teenager, she assisted in caring for her step-father during his three-year battle with colon cancer. Now, through her work at, she strives to inform and empower the caregivers who devote so much to helping and healing the ones they love.

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