Raising a healthy child in the modern day life can be quite challenging given the increased health risks that have increased considerably in the recent years. Since most of the children are not able to express the symptoms, it is very important for a person to keep an eye on his child.
Some of the health concerns can even confuse comparatively older kids. Many parents tend to normalize the symptoms and assume it is just the children being messy. One of such issues is constant drooling.
This might seem like a very trivial issue to some people but it can not only ruin the child’s oral hygiene but also disturb his or her mental health. Often, it can lower down the child’s confidence and can lead to social embarrassment.
Drooling in a kid becomes a concern when a perpetual flow of very noticeable saliva can be seen running down at one side of the mouth and should not be considered the same as a mild drool a person can have after having particular kinds of foods before bed.
The severe forms of drooling include children waking up on wet pillows or getting their shirts and collars wet. Excessive drooling, by all means, cannot be cited as normal and should be taken care of in order to avoid embarrassment as well as bad hygiene.
In addition, excessive drooling can also be signs of serious underlying conditions. Getting the child’s health checked is therefore mandatory if he or she has visible excessive drooling.
What Is Excessive Drooling?
Drooling is a natural reaction of the body which is linked to what is happening within it. It usually starts as soon as a baby starts teething. At that time, it is not worrisome and is actually considered a healthy sign in infants and babies.
Children usually learn how to control and stop drooling during the ages of 4-6. In some cases, it might even take longer.
Unless the children are fed something that can induce drooling in the mouth during sleep or if a child is doing it intentionally, drooling does not really occur that often after crossing the mentioned ages. Secondly, most of the kids are aware of maintaining their hygiene by that age.
Excessive drooling is something very different from this. Where drooling normally in later ages will occur in a very limited quantity, excessive drooling can possibly make a child wake up with a half wet face and pillow.
It is an unintentional act that can happen to children who have even crossed the ages of 9-10. Also known as sialorrhea, excessive slipping off of saliva down one corner of the child’s mouth can be very unhealthy.
Besides the overworking of saliva glands in the mouth to maintain moisture, excess saliva can ruin the skin around the mouth area and sometimes lead to painful sores and redness. It also increases the chances of getting infections in the mouth.
What Are The Symptoms Of Excessive Drooling In Children?
Sometimes a parent or adult may not be able to tell whether a child is having excessive drooling or not since most of the kids often wipe off any visible slipping near the mouth. There are a couple of signs that can help anyone figure out whether the child is having sialorrhea or not.
The first and most visible sign of the condition is a white, foamy line of saliva running down from any one side of the mouth. Since the action is involuntary, the child will be unable to control it no matter how many times they have been told to stop doing that.
If the child continues to drool despite the parent or an adult’s monitoring, it is a clear sign of sialorrhea and inability of the child to stop it. However, on the other hand, some children may do that out of a habit.
In such cases, the quantity of the saliva flowing is what a person should look for. Excessive saliva will typically make its way down the child’s chin. Drooling down the neck during sleeping or lying down is also fairly common.
Another sign of excessive drooling to look out for is the presence of saliva on things around the suspected child. Many children have their saliva slipped down on toys, books, school belongings, and the clothes.
Since the skin around the mouth is constantly wet and overly-moisturized because of the saliva, the child will have redness and sore skin around the chin and mouth. Chapped lips and pain in the area are also seen in excessive drooling.
One of the very first effects of drooling in children is higher chances of mouth infections. Oral hygiene is greatly linked with saliva production and usage. Excessive drooling can leave the mouth dry with a bad odor that is hard to get rid of.
Mouth infections are also more likely to occur in a child having excessive drooling than in a healthy child due to poor hygiene.
Lastly, difficulty in learning some of the basic things can also lead to sialorrhea in children. For example, in accordance with the researchers, children can face difficulty in speaking and chewing, both of which can be causes behind excessive drooling.
How Is Excessive Drooling Diagnosed?
Normally, a doctor checks everything from a child’s state of mind to overall health when checking symptoms for excessive drooling because as stated before it can be linked to serious conditions many times.
The ways that are used by doctors to look out for abnormal drooling include:
- Blockage in the nose
- Head posture
- How the child seals his/her lips
- Dental health
- Mental conditions of the child
- Chewing patterns and swallowing
- Level of awareness of the child
How Is Excessive Drooling Treated?
After the diagnosis behind the excessive drooling in the affected child, a doctor might suggest a surgical or non-surgical method depending on the factors causing the condition. Treatments done for controlling excessive drooling are:
In cases where the excessive drooling occurs due to nose blockages or other bodily conditions such as reflux, a course of prescription medication is given to the child. Glycopyrrolate and anticholinergic are the most effective medicines given for sialorrhea.
Intervals of botulinum are recommended in cases of extreme excessive drooling. However, these are only given to child where controlling of the saliva is needed to cure a mouth infection or any conditions that can worsen.
Speech, orthodontic, and behavioral treatment
In cases where salivation occurs due to bad postures of the head and inability of the child to chew and swallow, man doctors recommend speech and behavioral therapy.
Orthodontic treatment can be highly effective in teaching a child to have better control and stabilize their lip movements, jaws, and head. Sometimes, mouth and lip exercises are suggested to a child for improved balance in the jaw.
Though not often needed in most of the cases, surgery becomes an option when the cause of excess salivation is over-activeness of the salivary glands. According to studies, some children can also be born with more salivary glands than needed in their oral cavity.
A surgery can also be required in some other cases, for example, if the child has tonsillitis, a surgery can be required for the removal of tonsils.
Surgery is not performed in any of the other cases. Normally, a child needs to be six years or older to get a surgery done for excessive salivation.