What is eccessive drooling?

Ad a speech and language therapist I’m often asked about drooling or I see children that although they should control their saliva, they have wet chins or tshirts. …almost forgetting to swallow.

Babies need to learn how to swallow food and saliva. Most achieve this within the first year or two of life. Some take a little longer. There is no need to worry about dribbling providing your child sucked well as a baby and is developing other skills in using the mouth such as swallowing from a beaker, chewing and swallowing solids including lumps and trying to speak or make lots of different noises.

Children can usually control drooling by 4 years of age. Excessive drooling can be embarrassing to parents and to the child at a certain age.

A lot of toddlers dribble much of the time which is troublesome as they have wet necks and fronts most of the time and in cold weather their chins can become very sore.

The commonest reason is teething. Some babies dribble much more than others, even when they are not teething.

Signs and symptoms of excessive drooling

Excessive drooling is shown by saliva slipping out the side of your child’s mouth. It may dribble down his chin. Excessive drooling can damage clothes. It may spoil school books and drawings. Your child’s chin may also get irritated by the saliva. This happens more in cold weather.

Causes of excessive drooling

Excessive drooling is caused by poor swallowing. It may be linked with poor mouth and tongue control. Excessive drooling is not usually caused by too much saliva production.

The child may have a blocked nose due to frequent colds or enlarged adenoids (the lymphatic tissue at the back of the nose). This would make her breathe through her mouth which, if open much of the time, is more likely to dribble.

Sometimes really big tonsils can interfere with swallowing which could then make her dribble. Parents may also notice that their child has noisy breathing and may snore when she/he is asleep.

What’s the role of a speech therapist

I advice that if it really excessive to contact your Gp

The SLT will assess:

  • your child’s level of awareness
  • head posture and control
  • dental health
  • how well your child’s lips seal
  • whether your child can swallow safely
  • whether your child’s nose is blocked

Treatment for excessive drooling

  • improving head posture
  • Make sure that yoyr child’s nose  is not  blocked in order to help your child close her mouth better
  • During the winter months rub a protective layer of vaseline or other moisturiser over her chin and cheeks to protect them from becoming sore.
  • Don’t rub their chin but dab it gently as rubbing stimulate saliva production
  • Remind your child to swallow by saying it often
  • Give your child things to suck to encourage swallowing.

Do not hesitate to contact me or comment below.


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Anna Biavati - Smith SLT presents
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