Excessive Baby Drooling: Causes and Solutions
Is your baby leaving a puddle of drool on your shirt every time you pick them up? Are your burp cloths soaked within minutes of putting them on? As unpleasant as it is, excessive drooling is very common in infants and usually nothing to worry about. But what causes it, and what can you do to deal with all that extra spit-up? In this article, we'll discuss the reasons behind your baby's excessive drooling and provide some useful tips to minimize the mess and keep your little one comfortable. You'll learn what's normal and what could indicate an underlying issue needing medical attention. Kaiya Angel will also share some simple solutions to make mealtimes and playtime less wet for both you and your damp infant. So read on for expert-backed advice on taming your baby's excessive drool!
The role of saliva
In understanding your baby's excessive drooling, it's essential to recognize the role of saliva in this natural process.
Lubrication - Saliva helps keep the mouth moist and prevents food from sticking to the tissues in the mouth. It aids in chewing and swallowing food.
Digestion - Saliva contains enzymes that begin breaking down food chemicals like carbohydrates. The enzyme salivary amylase starts breaking down starches into simpler sugars even before swallowing.
Cleansing - Saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria from the teeth and oral cavity. Its flow helps flush out particles trapped between teeth during chewing and brushing.
Buffering - Saliva has bicarbonate salts that help neutralize acids in the mouth produced by some bacteria. This protects teeth from acid attacks that can cause cavities.
Speech - Saliva keeps the mouth moist, which is essential for clear speech. It helps smoothly articulate words.
Taste - Saliva washes over taste buds on the tongue, helping dissolve flavors from food and drinks to aid the sense of taste.
Protection - Saliva has antibodies and enzymes that fight against infections in the mouth by pathogens. Its flow also dilutes and washes away toxins.
How to tell if your baby is drooling too much?
Here are some signs that can help tell if your baby is drooling more than normal:
Wetness around the mouth and on clothing - Babies with excessive drooling will have damp areas on their shirts or bibs, and skin around their mouth may appear red and irritated from the moisture.
Drenching multiple bibs or outfit changes - Parents find themselves having to change soaked bibs or outfits multiple times throughout the day as the drooling is constant.
Difficulty keeping objects or toys in mouth - With excessive drool, toys or food may easily slip out of the baby's mouth. They have trouble keeping a pacifier or other objects in their mouth due to excessive lubrication.
Drooling string from mouth - A thick stream of drool hanging from the mouth is a telltale sign of excessive drooling. Babies may have strings of drool dripping down their chin frequently.
Difficulty eating and swallowing - The excess drool can make it harder for babies to keep food in their mouth and swallow properly during feeding. Food and liquid may dribble out.
Pooling drool in sleep - Babies may soak their sheets or pillows from nighttime drooling. Parents notice wet spots where their baby slept.
Coughing or gagging on drool - Some babies with excessive drool tend to cough, gag, or choke on their own saliva.
Bad breath - Excessive drool can also lead to halitosis in babies. The extra bacteria in the mouth from all that spit can cause foul breath.
If you notice multiple signs consistently, discuss your baby's drooling with their pediatrician. It may warrant evaluation if excessive.
Reasons for excessive drooling in babies
So one of the big reasons little ones drool so much is that their oral motor skills and coordination just aren't super developed yet. Their mouth is still figuring out how to keep food in and spit/drool out, you know? Their swallowing muscles aren't as strong as older kids or adults, so a lot of times saliva just kind of spills out the sides of their mouth.
Teething is another huge culprit. When babies are cutting new teeth, it can make their gums really sore and tender. The extra saliva helps soothe the pain and discomfort as they're teething. It's kind of the body's natural pain reliever.
Then there's also the fact that babies just produce a lot more saliva than older kids when they eat. It helps stimulate their appetite and gets their digestive juices flowing to start breaking down food in their tummy. But sometimes there's just more saliva than their little mouths can handle!
And let's face it, they spend a lot of time horizontal in swings, bouncers, and on the floor exploring things. So gravity isn't really working in their favor - all that extra spit collects at the bottom of their mouth if they're laying down.
So in summary, developing muscles and coordination, teething pain, extra digestive saliva, and the effects of gravity are usually the big factors behind all that baby drool. It's pretty normal and they usually grow out of it once those skills improve.
Is drooling a symptom of anything?
Yes, excessive drooling can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying issue rather than just normal baby development. Here are some potential causes for concern:
Teething - As mentioned, teething is a common cause of drooling as babies under 12 months. But excessive, prolonged drooling even after teeth have come in could indicate a tooth is not erupting properly.
Oral abnormalities - Issues like ankyloglossia (tongue-tie), cleft palate, or oral infection could contribute to drooling difficulties.
Gastrointestinal reflux - Babies with acid reflux may swallow more saliva to neutralize stomach acid, leading to excess drooling. They may also spit up more.
Oral sensitivities - Food allergies, sensitivities to new foods or textures could cause drooling if the mouth is irritated.
Swallowing difficulties - Neurological issues, developmental delays or motor challenges involving the throat/swallowing muscles may hamper swallowing ability.
Ear infections - Recurrent infections could cause associated pain that stimulates excess saliva production.
Respiratory infections - Viruses, colds, flu may cause congestion and temporarily worsen normal drooling.
So while common in babies, persistent or out-of-the-ordinary drooling should be discussed with your pediatrician to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Early intervention is best if treatment is needed.
What are some ways to manage excessive drooling in babies?
Use bibs: Dress your baby in bibs to catch drool and prevent it from soaking their clothing. Look for bibs with a waterproof lining to keep your baby dry.
Frequent diaper changes: Ensure that your baby's diaper is changed regularly. Excessive drooling can also lead to increased wetness in the diaper area.
Teething aids: Excessive drooling often accompanies teething. Provide teething toys or rings for your baby to chew on. These can help soothe their gums and reduce drooling.
Maintain good hygiene: Wipe your baby's chin and neck area frequently to prevent skin irritation. Use a soft, clean cloth to gently pat the area dry.
Positioning: Place your baby in an upright position during feeding and after meals. This can help prevent milk or food from mixing with drool and causing excess wetness.
Drool pads: Consider using drool pads on your baby's car seat or stroller to absorb excess drool and keep the seat clean and dry.
Consult a pediatrician: If excessive drooling persists or is accompanied by other symptoms like a rash, fussiness, or fever, consult your pediatrician. It may be a sign of an underlying issue.
Choose safe fabrics: Use soft, absorbent fabrics for your baby's bedding and clothing. Fabrics like cotton are comfortable and can help keep your baby dry.
Avoid petroleum-based products: While moisturizing creams or lotions can help prevent skin irritation, avoid petroleum-based products around the mouth as they can be harmful if ingested.
Medication (In Extreme Cases): In rare cases, if excessive drooling becomes a significant concern, your pediatrician may recommend medication or other medical interventions.
Remember that some drooling is normal in infants, and it often coincides with teething or early stages of development. However, if you have concerns or if drooling is excessive and persistent, it's a good idea to seek guidance from your pediatrician to rule out any underlying issues.
An expert in sleep sack design, is a valued contributor to Kaiya Angel's blog. With a strong background in baby sleep bags and maternal care, she is highly regarded for her professionalism. Yujia Shi prioritizes baby comfort and safety in her designs, using high-quality materials. Her insightful articles on sleep bags have been featured in reputable publications and have gained a significant readership. Trust Yujia Shi to help you create a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your baby, backed by her proven track record in the industry.
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