When is drooling a concern?
Drooling will occur when your child is teething or when they are learning a new motor skill (i.e., crawling). Excessive drooling (drooling to the point that your child soaks his clothing constantly) is never a part of normal development. Some reasons excessive drooling may occur is due to jaw/lip weakness (your child does not have the muscle strength to keep his mouth/lips closed), a stuffy nose (if your child can't breath through their nose they will leave their mouth open to breath), or decreased sensation in the mouth (sensory receptors in your child's mouth do not trigger a swallow as saliva builds up in their mouth- we swallow approximately every 30 seconds).
When can I expect normal drooling to occur?
Babies will begin to mouth toys around 2-4 months of age, this is when you may begin to see drooling.
Your baby's teeth will begin to erupt around 5 months of age. The eruption of children's teeth occur in connection with your baby beginning to bite and chew on toys and food. If your child's teeth eruption seems to be delayed encourage your child to chew on teething toys.
After 12 months of age you will not see drooling with gross motor activities (i.e., crawling, walking), but you may continue to see drooling with fine motor activities (i.e., grasping objects) until about18-21 months.
Teeth will continue to erupt until around 24-30 months, drooling may continue to occur as these final teeth emerge. Drooling when your child is teething will start and stop, meaning your child will begin drooling as the tooth is erupting and once the tooth has is in the drooling will stop. Drooling should not be continuous from 5 months of age (when teething begins) to 30 months (when teething ends).
If you notice that your child is drooling excessively or beyond the normal developmental periods when drooling occurs, have your child evaluated by a speech pathologist
Katie is the owner of Katie Carney Speech Therapy, LLC, where she provides play based and family centered speech and feeding therapy on the south side of Chicago. Katie has a passion for proper oral motor, feeding, and speech development. To contact Katie visit her website at katiecarneyspeech.com, call her at 773-914-2194, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.