‘Drooling’ and ‘dribbling’ are different names for the same thing, which is when saliva, drool or dribble escapes from the mouth usually as a result of the child not swallowing often enough.
Please read the following and tick those that apply to your child.
Drooling is more likely to occur if your child:
- Keeps his/her head down a lot, as any dribble is likely to flow out and
- Keeps his/her lips apart much of the time.
- Breathes through their mouth. This may be a habit or because your child cannot breathe through the nose because it is blocked.
- Has frequent colds or allergies that block his/her nose.
- Has large or infected tonsils which make swallowing – including saliva – difficult.
- Has any eating or drinking difficulties which make swallowing difficult.
- Has a mouth infection and/or dental caries (tooth decay) both of which are likely to increase the amount of saliva produced.
- Is on medicine, as some increase the production of saliva.
- Uses a dummy or sucks his/her thumb/fingers.
- Continues to use a bottle with a teat to suck on and for drinking, or uses an ‘anyway up’ cup.
Tick all the boxes that apply to your child, and then try the suggestions. If your child continues to dribble a lot after trying the suggestions a referral can be made to the Children’s Speech & Language Service.
Try the following:
- Encourage your child to keep their head upright and lips together when not talking.
- Regularly remind your child to put their lips together and swallow. If they do not understand what you mean, show them.
- While keeping their lips together, see how long your child can breathe through his/her nose before they open their lips. Practice this regularly.
- Show your child how to blow their nose and encourage them to do so, especially when they have a cold.
- Encourage your child to eat a variety of foods of different textures, not just soft food. If your child can only manage soft food, try to gradually increase the range of textures.
- Encourage your child to drink from a cup rather than a bottle.
- Do not use an ‘anyway up’ cup as this encourages sucking rather than more mature drinking.
- Reduce use of dummy or sucking his/her thumb/fingers, and try to restrict its use to sleep periods only.
- Encourage your child to brush their teeth, at least each morning and evening, and take your child to the dentist regularly to help keep their teeth healthy.
If your child begins to drool, encourage them to dab around their mouth with a tissue NOT wipe. Dabbing will help to reduce drooling but wiping encourages more drooling.
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