The first time that parents will notice that their child has profuse drool will be around two months of the baby’s life. At this age, which also coincides with the appearance of the social smile and the first babbling, babies usually start drooling that they did not present before. Why?
What parents often think is that the first teeth are coming out. They are already starting to prepare teethers, creams for skin irritation , etc. However, this is not the reason. The first teeth usually begin to emerge around the sixth month of life and drooling is already abundant after two or three months.
It is due, neither more nor less, because it is at 2 months when babies begin to generate saliva. Their salivary glands are activated and begin to function and, in addition, the baby still does not know how to swallow this saliva.
WHY DOES THE CHILD NOT SWALLOW THE SALIVA?
Obviously, the child is already more than ready to swallow the milk that he has been consuming for several months. He does it as a conscious act that he already masters. However, swallowing the saliva we produce is done as something unconscious and automatic and this, the child, still does not control it . It may take even two years for the baby to stop generating so much drool. There will be times when it seems that the baby has already mastered drooling and that, suddenly, there is a regression. These stages usually coincide with the real appearance of the teeth , times when it is bad and with a lot of snot or other circumstances in which we will have to especially control its drooling.
And, this slime can make you feel really uncomfortable. To keep it dry, both the skin and the clothes, in this phase we will have to have a good number of bibs, wipes or handkerchiefs that allow us to dry it so that its clothes do not get wet and prevent it from catching a cold or feeling uncomfortable. In addition, saliva can cause skin irritation to appear due to humidity in areas around the face or neck.
Good hygiene is important to prevent this excessive moisture from causing other problems in addition to irritation, such as the appearance of fungus on your skin. On many occasions, we will see when changing the diaper that the bottom of the babies also has irritation . This is because saliva is acidic and when you start to swallow it, especially in times when it is especially abundant, it can also make urination and defecation more acidic.
WHEN SHOULD DROOLING BE A CONCERN?
As we say, it is normal for children to drool more or less intensely during the first two years of life. Beyond this age, it is no longer usual. If it persists, we should consult the pediatrician if there is any cause that explains this persistent drooling. Also if, regardless of age, the drool is so abundant that you feel nauseous or there is a risk of choking or drowning. In addition, if the child suddenly presents a very intense drooling that he did not present or that he had already controlled, especially if it is accompanied by fever , breathing problems or keeping the head up, we should quickly consult with the pediatrician.
The pediatrician will examine the child and ask his parents for a medical history. In addition, a speech therapist would be in charge of giving the necessary guidelines to prevent the child from swallowing saliva incorrectly , putting him in danger.
These consultations are recommended because this abundant and persistent drooling over time can be due to certain infections, such as tonsillitis , or other conditions such as allergies or poisonings. Being less common, it can also be a symptom of some type of nervous system disorder, such as cases of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or a stroke, as well as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder . These disorders have been previously identified and are accompanied by other signs, so excessive drooling in itself is not a sufficient indicator.
However, as we say, only in cases of excessively profuse drooling, drooling of sudden onset or persistent drooling beyond two years should we be concerned. During the first months, bibs, handkerchiefs and skin creams will be our best allies .