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Excessive Drooling In Children – Causes And Prevention

5 min read

Drooling (salivation) is very common among babies and toddlers. It is defined as saliva that flows out of their mouth on its own, i.e., unintentionally. We will not be surprised when their toys and dress tops are soaked in their saliva. And until a certain period, drool bib which are smaller than a feeding bib) will be an unavoidable item in your baby’s kit. We also notice that some babies drool more and some other drool less. However, drooling is a typical phase of a baby’s life. Be that as it may, do you know why the babies dribble so frequently? Possibly not. Consider the answer in the following lines so whenever you see your child dribbling you will better comprehend why it is occurring.
Drooling in children

  • Is Drooling Normal In Toddlers?
  • What Is Excessive Drooling In Children?
  • What Is The Normal Progression Of Drooling Among Babies?
  • Does Drooling Have Any Role In Baby’s Development?
  • What Are The Causes Of Excessive Drooling In Children?
  • How Is Excessive Drooling Treated In Children?
  • What Is A Drool Rash?

Is Drooling Normal In Toddlers?

The reply is, drooling is not always considered as normal. Drooling in children till 2 years can be considered as alright as they are yet trying to control their swallowing and the muscles of the mouth are not until their control. Though it is unexceptional at around 18-24 months of age, when crucial development of the child is taking place, it is not at all normal after a particular age of the child, which is usually after 4 years. Drooling can become a cause of embarrassment for older kids and their parents.

What Is Excessive Drooling In Children?

Excessive drooling is the unintentional flow of saliva out of the mouth of the child, either, even after the child outgrown the normal age bar of drooling, or when none of the common cause of the drooling can be applied. Excessive drooling happens more often due to poor mouth and tongue coordination resulting in poor swallowing rather than overproduction of the saliva. Excessive drooling can lead to pneumonia as there are more chances the saliva to get into lungs through inhaling.
Excessive and out of time drooling, no matter what, requires more attention as there are several medical conditions which cause drooling. Neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy can also cause excessive drooling, and babies generally experience it while teething. Talk to your child’s doctor if you feel your child is having excessive drooling as some conditions may require serious treatment.

What Is The Normal Progression Of Drooling Among Babies?

Recognizing a typical drooling pattern will be easier if you have an idea about the normal developmental stages of drooling among babies.

  • Generally, drooling starts when the child is around three months old. This is because the chances of the salivation are much less when the baby lying in a face-up position (on his back). But the baby will drool if he is put in a prone position (lying on his chest) or in a supported sitting position (may be to click a picture). This is because he lacks swallowing and muscle control of the mouth
  • Once the baby turns six months, the drooling due to the positioning will almost stop. At this stage, he drools when he babbles or concentrate while doing something with his hand like holding or reaching for something
  • When the baby is around one-year-old the drooling will reduce more, though he or she will drool during teething or because of eating certain foods
  • Once the baby crosses the one-and-a-half year mark, he may only drool occasionally, during the teething process or while engaged in stalking blocks or doing chores using small muscles of fingers (fine motor task)
  • Once the baby is around two years old, notable drooling will almost stop

Does Drooling Have Any Role In Baby’s Development?

Yes, salivation has a role in a baby’s development. Drool helps the baby in:

  • Further development of intestinal lining of the babies happens from the drool produced in their mouth
  • The gastric acid formed in the stomach is neutralized by the drool
  • The drool helps in digestion of food when they start to eat solid food around six months
  • Saliva binds the food together because of its slimy nature which helps to swallow easier
  • Infant reflux (re-entering of stomach contents into the esophagus) which may cause irritation to the esophagus can be smoothened by the saliva

Excessive drooling child

What Are The Causes Of Excessive Drooling In Children?

Excessive drooling in toddlers and babies can be due to:

  • Teething: Despite the fact that the tooth does not really get through the gum till the baby turns six to eight months of age, it starts voyaging upwards much prior. Much of the time, around three months of age the little one starts to dribble at an astounding rate. This is because as the tooth starts going through the gum it catalyzes the production of drool, which thus implies your infant begins to dribble. More on baby teething here
  • Concentrating: When the children concentrate keenly on something they might lose their self-awareness making them unable to swallow back the saliva resulting in drooling
  • Continuous open mouth posture: Open mouth posture for a long time can be habitual or due to cold or nose block. This can tamper with the production as well as swallowing the saliva
  • Food: Some food (mostly acidic in nature) can trigger excessive drooling

Drooling can also happen due to neurological problems caused by:

  • Side-effect of medicines: Some medicines can affect the function and efficiency of a child’s facial muscles. This can result in increased or decreased muscle tone of the lips, causing drooling
  • Neurological disorder: Drooling is an important symptom of several neurological disorder like:
    • Cerebral palsy: This disorder affecting the brain can effect oral-muscular control
    • Bell’s palsy: This is a temporary nerve disorder affecting half of the face. You can almost confirm this disorder if your child has a droopy eyelid on the same side through which the excessive drooling happens

How Is Excessive Drooling Treated In Children?

Drooling is not always treated, especially if your child is under the age of 4. The treatment of drooling will be considered only if the drooling is found to be severe and the child is no more a toddler. If drooling creates social issues and hinders with daily chores of your toddler, then treatment will be considered. Before starting the treatment, the child will be analyzed by a panel of specialists. They will evaluate:

  • The child’s extend of awareness
  • The child’s extend of natural swallowing reflex
  • How well the baby can seal his lips and move his tongue
  • If the child can swallow healthily
  • If the child’s nose is blocked
  • The posture of the child and his head and trunk control and the stability of the jaw

The treatment concentrates on:

  • Improving the ability of the child to swallow
  • Tightening the facial muscles
  • Oral motor therapy to strengthen the muscle of lips, jaw, and cheeks for improving the handling and the swallow of saliva
  • Enhancing head and trunk control to accomplish better control of adequate gulping
  • Aiding the child to attain a closed lip posture
  • Modifying the diet of the child by reducing the acidic food from the menu
  • A dental device like chin cup which helps with swallowing, tongue positioning, and lip closure are suggested by doctors

What Is A Drool Rash?

The saliva dribbling through the mouth can irritate the skin of your child’s cheeks, neck or chest. This irritation can develop reddish, uneven rashes. This rash can be treated by, carefully washing the itchy or irritated skin, pat it dry and soothe it with a lanolin topical.

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