Too much saliva, however, can cause
persistent wetness of the mouth and chin
leading to skin irritations and possible
infections, wetness and staining of clothing,
and may become a potential embarrassment
as the child gets older.
Children who have neurologic impairments may show delays in this whole process, but may continue with development for several years. Excessive drooling in an otherwise normally developing child may be due to an abnormal oral sensitivity, with or without a delay in the muscle control. Less commonly it is due to excess production of saliva. Other causes may include oral infections, nasal obstructions and medications. The incidence of chronic excessive drooling is about 0.6 percent.
As far as bite is concerned, Dr. Cash reminds us that young children often show variations in their bite, but these aren’t necessarily a predictor of future problems. If your child is a persistent thumb sucker, you might want to encourage them to stop.
To help deal with the excess drooling, you may need to keep absorbent bibs or wristbands on your child to help to control the wetness. Some young children are simply unaware of the drooling. If the problem becomes chronic, talk to your doctor who might suggest a referral to a speech pathologist, dentist or Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who can assess your child’s needs and help develop a plan.
Originally published in ParentsCanada, July 2012