Drooling in kids: Causes, Tips and Foods to manage it

Does your child drool unintentionally? Have you observed that your child’s pillow or clothes are drenched in wetness? Drooling is common in children below 3 years of age. But if it continues after the age of 4, it may indicate other underlying conditions. Keep reading to understand more about the causes, symptoms, tips and foods to manage excessive drooling in children.

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What is drooling?

Drooling is when too much saliva runs out of the mouth uncontrollably or unintentionally. It is also referred to as sialorrhea or ptyalism. Drooling is common in babies below 2 years of age because babies don’t have complete control over the muscles surrounding their mouth. People frequently drool while they are asleep. This can happen due to excessive salivation or weak oral muscles. Drooling can occasionally be a sign of neurological diseases such as autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy. 

Also check, Food sensitivities in children

Types of drooling

Anterior sialorrhea

If the excess saliva is not contained, it will drip into the child’s face and, if not, their clothes.Cleanliness and skin care difficulties may result from this. As a result, they could also struggle to socialise.

Posterior sialorrhea

When saliva leaks down a children’s airway rather than being swallowed, it is referred to as posterior sialorrhea. Chronic lung irritation and other health problems can be brought on by this type of drooling issue.

Also check, Tips to manage sleep talking in kids

Symptoms of excessive drooling

The drooling is easily identifiable in case of anterior sialorrhea. Frequently, there is persistent drooling, which leaves chronically damp clothing. The drooling can occasionally be more severe at night which is characterised by damp bedding every morning.

Although posterior sialorrhea can be more hard to diagnose, it may need to be taken into account if the kid is frequently seen choking and coughing or seems susceptible to pneumonia.

Also check, Foods that help with Cerebral palsy

Causes of excessive drooling

Drooling may be a sign of a health issue, a developmental delay, or the side effect of some medications. It may result from anything that causes an excessive amount of saliva to be produced, trouble swallowing, a lack of sensation in the lips and cheeks, poor muscular tone or issues with muscle control. Here are some major causes of drooling:

1. Age

Drooling is common in newborns and infants. The secretion of excessive saliva usually peaks between three and six months of age, and teething may make symptoms even worse. 


The consumption of particular meals and beverages may increase salivation. Foods with a high acidic nature, such as citrus fruit and sugary foods have been linked to increased salivation.

3.Neurological conditions 

Drooling may be the symptom of certain neurological conditions like

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis

These conditions may result in muscle weakness that make it difficult to swallow saliva (dysphagia) and seal the mouth.


Certain infections like allergies, strep throat, tonsillitis and sinus can make it difficult to swallow and cause excessive drooling.


Gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD) is a digestive issue which causes the contents in the stomach to return back to the esophagus (food pipe) which results in damage of the inner lining of the esophagus. Difficulty to swallow or the sensation of a lump in the throat can be brought on by GERD. Some people have excessive drooling as a result of this sensation.

Also check, Home remedies for acid reflux

6.Sleep apnea

Drooling may be a sign of sleep apnea. When you have sleep apnea, your breathing pauses periodically throughout the night, which disrupts your sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious condition and requires medical attention.

Also check, Improper sleep cycle in kids with ASD and ADHD 

7.Side effects of medications

Some drugs may increase your tendency to drool. It has been demonstrated that antipsychotic drugs can make people drool excessively. Antibiotics might cause excessive drooling as well.

Treatment for excessive drooling


Speech and occupational therapists can help with excessive drooling. They teach how to position and control the posture of the mouth which can help with lip closure and swallowing problems. Therapists may also advise that you consult a nutritionist in order to reduce the number of acidic foods in your diet.

Also check, Types of therapies in autism

Oral motor therapy

Oral motor refers to the way our mouth’s muscles are used. The tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw are all included in this. All of them are components of our mouth that are connected to numerous muscles; like all muscles, they can be strong or weak. Oral motor mouth exercises indeed help in strengthening the oral muscles and also aid in chewing and swallowing actions.

Also check, Oral motor exercises for kids

Dental device 

A specialised appliance implanted in the mouth aids with lip closure when swallowing. This choice will work best for the ones who have some swallowing control.

Tips for parents to manage excessive drooling in children

1.Sleeping position

Altering your child’s sleep position is the first thing you should do. In order to prevent saliva from dripping down your face or soaking your pillow, it is best to sleep on your back. This will allow you to better control the flow of saliva. 

2. Sensory activities

Blowing bubbles, humming a song and making exaggerated lip noises like “ooh,” “eee,” and “puh-puh-puh” are the simple fun activities that improve oral sensitivity. As a result, a child’s lips, tongue, mouth, and chin become more sensitive. This helps your child to distinguish between dryness and wetness so that he/she can recognise when he is drooling.

Also check, Sensory activities for kids 

3. Practice wiping with handkerchief

Encourage your child to use a napkin or handkerchief to wipe his face while he is learning to recognise the presence of wetness on his face. Practise of “wipe (one side of mouth), wipe (other side of mouth) and swallow” during mealtimes can help to promote this socially acceptable behaviour. To promote this practice during meals, attach the handkerchief to a bracelet of your child.

Also check, Tips to maintain personal hygiene

4. Avoid certain foods 

Avoid citrus fruits, sweet foods, and sour foods that can trigger excess saliva production. Dry and bland food items like bread or crackers may assist in absorbing more saliva and offer quick relief.

5. Reward your kid

Make a reward system to encourage your child as they chew, swallow, wipe, and most importantly, keep their face dry and clean. Always try to encourage and compliment your child. For example:

“That’s fantastic. I’m very glad you chewed and swallowed the cookies !”

Foods that help to manage excessive drooling in children

The types of food that can aid motor functioning that can effectively impact oral functioning include:

1. Nuts

Children who bite and chew more fibrous sources of protein, such as nuts, have stronger jaws and are less likely to experience bite problems. Apart from that all the nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and help in boosting memory. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are also valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. 

Also check, Best nuts and seeds for protein.

2. Seeds

Seeds like flax, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and also higher in zinc than other seeds. They also help in increasing concentration and memory. Healthy brain can effectively help in improving oral functioning.

Also check, Health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It can help in reducing anxiety and stress. Moreover, it increases acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. Ashwagandha also improves communication between nerve cells and stimulates the body’s capacity to heal any nervous system damage. For general nourishment and renewal, ashwagandha is typically eaten with ghee and honey (in equal parts), which serve as anupans (a medium for delivering herbs deeper into the tissues).

Also check, Health benefits of Ashwagandha.

3. Brahmi

Brahmi is a superfood for the brain. It helps in sharpening the brain by protecting cells and also increases the chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power in kids. Kids in the older times, were often given Brahmi powder with ghee/honey. This would increase their focus and attention while keeping them calm and distressed. The most notable advantage of brahmi is that it enhances cognitive abilities and also stimulates the mind to increase focus and memory. Bacopa, taken twice daily at a dose of 300 mg, was found to improve test results related to cognitive function after six weeks of regular treatment.

Also check, Herbs for kids.

4. Shankhapushpi

Shankhapushpi is a traditional remedy for increasing the functioning of the brain. The powerful antioxidants and also the flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness and alertness of an individual. Because it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.

Also check, Herbs that help to get rid of brain fog.

5. Cocoa Powder

Pure cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin helpful to improve cognition and speech impairment in studies. Hence cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children. This may significantly help out in easily building up the oral motor skills.

Also check, More benefits of cocoa powder.


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