Drooling (also known as ‘dribbling’) is common in babies and young children up to the age of eighteen months as they learn to control their mouth and throat. However, most children have stopped drooling by the time they reach four years old. In children and adolescents with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions drooling often continues. Doctors sometimes call it ‘sialorrhoea’, which means ‘overflowing saliva’. In most cases, drooling is due to problems with swallowing, but other causes include lack of control of the lips or tongue.
Around 1 in 5 children and adolescents with cerebral palsy have chronic drooling – this is frequent problematic drooling that affects their health and/or well-being. Chronic drooling can lead to irritated skin around the mouth, neck and chest, dehydration, urine infections and chest infections. Clothes and bibs need to be changed regularly, books and electronic equipment can be damaged, and there may be an unpleasant smell. Young people with chronic drooling may feel embarrassed – chronic drooling can affect their relationships with others and their self-esteem.
Children and adolescents who need help to manage chronic drooling are often offered speech and language therapy. Drooling may be reduced by improving mouth control and teaching sensory awareness to increase swallowing. Where needed, drug treatments for chronic drooling are available. In some cases, injections into salivary glands (where saliva is produced) or surgery may be considered.
Proveca has an oral solution to treat chronic drooling in children and adolescents with chronic neurological problems. If you wanted to learn more about it, you would need to discuss it with your doctor for more information.