Q: Isn’t drooling normal in childhood?
A: Yes, drooling is quite normal throughout infancy and the toddler ages. Periods of excessive wetness can especially coincide with teething. As teeth poke through the skin, the brain is triggered that something is in the mouth and therefore, more saliva needs to me produced. Initially, excess saliva may help sooth a child’s sore gums, but it may also become unmanageable.
Q: Why do children drool?
A: Children continue to drool beyond the age which it is expected for four main reasons:
- Saliva Awareness: Child is not aware, or doesn’t care about saliva escaping
- Swallow Frequency: The child does not swallow often enough
- Swallow efficiency: The child does not swallow effectively
- Poor Lip Closure: The child keeps lips parted most of the time
Q: Can drooling be eliminated?
A: Excess drooling can be controlled, reduced and eliminated in many cases, but not all cases. Success depends on factors such as: child’s cognitive level, oral-tactile sensitivity, dental status, willingness to participate in activities, and oral tone.
Tips to Decrease Drooling:
- Teach the concepts of “Wet” and “Dry.” For example:
- Show the child how to feel wetness and dryness in various situations such as bath time, washing hands,
- when cleaning a counter top, when blowing bubbles, when a spill happens
- Then, teach the concept of a wet and dry chin. Ask the child to feel his chin and describe it: “Are you wet?
- Or dry?” Teach the child that we like for their chin to be dry
Swallowing: For Example
- Show the child how to use his own hands to feel his swallow
- Show him how it feels to swallow while drinking water from a cup.
Strengthen the Lips: Simple activities done on a regular basis can improve the strength and control of the lips. Examples include:
- Give kisses (full pucker) to a teddy bear 20 times in a row
- Press the lips together tightly while waiting for a traffic light to turn green
- Blow up cheeks and keep the lips closed
- Say “mommy” 10 times in a row
Chatterboxes offers quality Speech-Language & Occupational Therapy in Boston, MA. We also offer flexible service options for your family. Call us today at 617-969-8255 or visit us at 121 Mt Vernon St, Boston, MA 02108.