Does your child have excessive saliva? Should it worry you?

Ordinarily, by the age of 4 children are able to gain full control over salivation. Sometimes, a child’s body produces excess saliva, which often causes drooling. Drooling is when saliva unintentionally escapes from the mouth. As a parent, you might notice your child’s shirt is soaked in saliva or after playing with toys, they are left with a layer of saliva. A common question at this juncture is ‘is drooling normal?’ At certain stages in the development of your child, drooling is something that is totally typical. Apart from being messy and embarrassing, most often, excess salivation isn’t something that should worry you. It is atypical when health conditions are its accompaniments and here is where you need to intervene.

Here is why youngsters drool

Saliva has many functions. As we are eating, food is bound together by saliva and this is necessary for swallowing safely. It also assists in digestion and keeps the mouth clean and free from bacteria.

Here are possible causes for excess drooling: 

  • Teething, as it results in increased production of saliva
  • A constant open-mouth posture, this also stops the building up of saliva and hinders the process of swallowing
  • Poor awareness of oral senses results in decreased triggers to swallow. A child is less responsive to sensory cues that indicate a need to swallow when the face is constantly wet
  • Response to certain foods cause drooling
  • Drooling can be a side effect of certain medications
  • A response to motor activities that require balance.
  • Due to weak trunk and head control, decreased or increased muscle tone in the lips or poor jaw stability excess saliva is produced and there is difficulty in swallowing efficiently

How Is Excessive Drooling Treated In Children?

Drooling is something that is not always treated, particularly if your child is below the age of four. Doctors will consider treating drooling only if the child is no more a toddler and if the drooling is excessive. Excessive drooling is said to obstruct daily activities. 

Before beginning the treatment, a panel of specialists will analyse your child. They will evaluate the following few activities among others:

  • The extent of the child’s awareness
  • The extent of the child’s natural swallowing reflex
  • How well the child can move their tongue and seal their lips
  • If the nose is blocked
  • Head and trunk control the stability of the jaw
  • The posture of the child

The treatment concentrates on:

  • Tightening the facial muscles
  • Improving the ability to swallow
  • Oral motor therapy to strengthen the muscles the cheeks, jaw and lips. This helps improve how saliva is handled and swallowed.
  • Trunk and head control is improved to ensure better control of swallowing
  • Modifying the diet by reducing acidic food
  • Helping the child attain a closed lip posture
  • Making use of dental devices like chin up that help swallow, position the tongue and bring the lips closer.

By means of working with specialists, you can easily help your child overcome drooling.


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Last updated on 31 May, 2018.

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