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Conditions

Dribbling

Drooling

All babies and young childen dribble or drool until they learn to swallow their own saliva, and it’s an important part of their development: saliva helps keep the mouth clean and enables us all to swallow food and to talk. By eighteen months or two years, most kids are growing out of it, but for others the problem carries on into the toddler years and beyond, and it can be awkward and embarrassing for them and you.

The first thing to think about if your child is drooling excessively is whether there is a specific cause. Teething makes kids dribble, for example, and at times when they are concentrating hard on something else – playing, for example – they can lose the self-awareness that enables them to swallow back saliva. Colds, a blocked nose and any activity that involves your child dipping his head down can also cause dribbling.

If none of these things seems to apply and your child is still dribbling a lot by the time they reach four, it’s worth mentioning the fact to your doctor and, if necessary, your child can be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist, or a speech therapist, who can look more closely at the way your child uses his mouth, how well he forms shapes with his lips and tongue, and then assess whether dribbling might be a symptom of something else.

In the meantime, there are plenty of everyday things you can do to try and prevent heavy dribbling. When you see drool starting to dribble out of the mouth, gently ask your child to put his head back. Kids won’t actually swallow back saliva until it reaches the back of their throat, where it triggers a reflex. Don’t always wipe it away from their chin, but wait until they become aware of it themselves. Persuading kids to close their mouths rather than letting them hang open will also help to trigger the natural swallowing reflex.

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I'm 13 years old and I dribble in my sleep and sometimes even when I'm awake. I find it happens most when I'm working on something that takes a lot of concentration and once I take a break, that's when I realise my t-shirt is soaking wet. Sometimes I go through more that 3 tops a day due to wetness caused by dribbling and since I'm quite old, its quite embarrassing. Also, I have had my nasal's taken out as they were to big and I couldn't breathe through my nose so I don't dribble as much as I used to, but I still dribble a lot. It gets worse if I'm ill, tired or cold. Really need some help! Xxx ps. I suffer from ashma but haven't had an attack since the age of 7 xxx





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My son is two years and a month old and has just started dribbing again, he hasn't dribbled since he was one. He fell over and bashed his jaw and complains occasionally when eating, could a sore tooth cause dribbling? Is it possible for a baby of his age to need a tooth filling?





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My son is almost 7 and still drools considerably. We remind him all the time to swallow it or wipe it but he often doesn't seem to really notice. He has had his adenoids removed and his nose quarterised but it has made no difference. The hospital thought he was dyspraxic but have discharged him as he 'came on' physically (I'm not convinced tho: struggles to write, some speech problems, can't swim above water, double jointed all over, struggles with numbers and sequencing, emotionally young for his age). Any advice would be appreciated ! He's such a super, happy lad! We just want him to be happy and confident.





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my son is 2 and still dribbles even if his mouth is closed .





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Most of you should check Dyspraxia...... especially those with language problems.and...sleeping problems....it is quite common...but uncurable





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My lb is 3 1/2 and he has just started dribbling a lot he hasn't done this since he had the last of his teeth through at about 2 he has a few ulcers on his tongue from biting it and im just wondering if this could cause the dribbling or could it be something else





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hi, my little boy has just turned 4 and still dribbles a lot, he also has problems with his speech especially pronouncing certain letters like L,R,C,K,Th,ch etc I am just wondering if these issues could be connected. I did take him the doctors regarding the 2 problems, I got prescribed antihistamines for his dribbling which did help it a little bit but it started again when the antihistamines finished.





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They could be related. Having him evaluated by a Speech Language Pathologist either through the school system or a clinic would be a good place to start. /r/ is still a developing sound for his age, but the other sounds should be addressed. The speech language pathologist should be able to help determine if his drooling is related to overall oral function and work with him to reduce dribbling as well as improving his speech. - Your friendly SLP

Hi I have a 2 year old boy who is always constantly dribbling. Thishas been going on since he was about 4months old when he started teething which I believe is normal but since the age of 20mths the dribble as become more and im using so many tops vests in the day. It goes all through and is drenched the dr as put it down ro teething but iv noticed a lot of my friends kids that are theaame age dont have this problem. I noticed that he puts a d in front of words but wasn't sure if this waa normal for his age he doesn't close his mouth which iv noticed more when his concentrating on something. Is there anything I can do to stop this aa it's quite embarrassing when im out and makes him sore on his chin.





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Both of my boys suffered with Acute enlarged tonsils and both dribbled excessively!! My eldest had his tonsils & adenoids out at 4 & 1/2yrs and the dribbling stopped with two weeks of the operation. My youngest has just had the same operation a week ago at 27mths old and we've noticed s dramatic change in his dribbling to the point were only using 3-4 bibs instead of 15-20 bibs a day!! My boys didnt have their operations because of the excessive dribbling, it was due to sleep apnia, heavy breathing & feeding problems (not being able to swallow lumpy food) but it has helped!!





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Hi my son is 7 and still dribbles quite a lot - he is not really aware of it and we have to remind him. He has seen speech therapists and we have done all of the exercises and followed all the advice they gave us and its made no difference! He had no sucking reflex when he was born as he was poorly but I thought it would right itself. Any help would be greatly appreciated.





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My son is 7 years old and drools excessively. My name is Kelly as well and our situations are so similar that my husband asked if I posted online about our child. My son was hospitalized at 10 days and diagnosed as failure to thrive. He eventually got a g-tube because he couldn't suck well enough to get nutrition to gain weight. At about six months, the g-tube was removed because he started to "get it". As time went on, we realized he didn't have any sensation around his mouth at all. He would fall down, get up with a bloody lip, and not cry at all. His neurologist determined he has congenital neuropathy in his mouth, legs and arms. The neurologist prescribed Rubinol and thought it would dry him right up, but that hasn't been the case for us. We take the max dosage possible and it only decreases his secretions slightly. You might ask your doctor about it for your child. Also, Botox shots were recommended but our insurance won't cover it and it is very expensive otherwise. Right now, we primarily have our son work on behavioral changes - swallowing before talking; keeping his mouth closed and breathing through his nose,; when reading aloud, swallowing at the periods. He wears wristbands and we remind him to swallow and wipe his mouth. It is a challenge because he is a 7 year old boy who at this point in his life doesn't care. Hope this helped a bit. --Kelly





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

A baby's first teeth (known as milk or deciduous teeth) usually develop while the child is growing in the womb. These teeth then start to emerge through the gums when a child is six to nine months old. This is known as teething. Read More »