Have you had a pediatric patient in your office that drools excessively? Maybe mom or dad is concerned about managing their child's saliva? While excessive drool is common and expected in children younger than 18 months, it can pose a risk of illness and social concerns in older children. Pragmatic management of saliva not only reduces the risk of pulmonary illness, but it can also help patients thrive in mainstream activities.

What causes excessive drooling and saliva? 

Neurological diseases
  • Including conditions such as cerebral palsy
Congenital and acquired conditions
  • Nasal obstruction 
  • Digestive pathologies: esophageal spasms, tumors and ulcerations, gastric disorders accompanied by nausea and vomiting, pancreatitis, intestinal infections
Oral conditions 
  • Mucosal ulcerations 
  • Teething 
  • Herpetic ulceration 
  • Traumatic ulceration 
  • Oral pain: pulpitis, periodontitis, stomatitis 
  • Pharynx and tonsillar inflammation 
  • Irritating and ulcerative lesions 
Systemic Disease  

Saliva has many important dental health functions: infection prevention, speech and swallowing; it is imperative that saliva is managed carefully. Fortunately, there a number of prescription medication options available, all anticholinergics, that offer successful treatment. Some medications are prescribed for daily management while others are suited for special situations, such as a family gathering or public event where excessive drool may have social implications. When medical management is not effective or side effects are not tolerable, there are several surgical interventions to offer more permanent management.

The Aerodigestive Clinic team at Gillette Children’s offers evaluation and management of excessive drooling in children of all ages. To refer a patient to the Aerodigestive Clinic, or to consult with one of our specialists, please call us at 651-325-2200. 

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