Drooling is unintentional salivary flow from the mouth.It is common or physiological in children below 4 years of age.
Saliva is mainly produced by three pairs of salivary glands.
Saliva has following functions:
- Protects dentition and gingiva
- Lubricates oral mucosa and helps swallowing and speech
Drooling can also occur with teething due to stimulation of salivary reflex and hypersalivation.
After 4 years of age, drooling is considered abnormal. However, children with neurologic impairment may be slow in their oral neuromuscular control development, and may continue to improve this control until 6 years of age.
Drooling beyond toddlers should be shown to a doctor.Most of the time it can be due to neurological impairments.After assessment of severity and cause, treatment is planned.Many times conservative approaches like head and neck positioning as well as exercises to improve jaw/tongue movements and mouth closure help.
In severe cases medical and surgical intervention are offered by specialists