Parents usually love the drool that innocently dribbles down the chins of infants, but in toddlers--not so much. Regardless, spit happens, and in many cases, drooling is no cause for alarm. Occasionally, excessive drooling can be caused by a series of health conditions, such as infections or dental problems. If you’re a parent concerned about your tot’s excess drool, consult with your child’s pediatrician about your concerns. In the meantime, educate yourself on the possible causes of your toddler’s abundance of saliva.
Teething isn’t just limited to infants, as toddlers also go through a teething phase that can result in excessive drooling, according to Dr. William Sears. Around the age of 2, toddlers often cut their 2-year molars, which make up his final four baby teeth. While teething, parents should have their toddler take frequent sips of water to help develop his swallowing control. Once the molars come in and your child’s swallowing mechanism becomes fully mature, the excessive drooling should come to a pleasant end.
Dental problems, such as cavities, have been linked with excessive drooling. Dr. Sears also suggests the problem may lie with the tonsils. Toddlers with oversized tonsils may have difficulty swallowing, resulting in excessive drooling. Swollen or enlarged adenoids may also be to blame for your tot’s constant display of drivel. While adenoids are not directly visible like tonsils, they can temporarily swell as they attempt to fight off infections.
Certain infections are known to produce excessive amounts of saliva, according to MedlinePlus. Infections such as strep throat, tonsillitis, peritonsillar abscess and sinus infections may be the reason for your toddler’s excessive drooling. Mononucleosis, or “mono” can result in excessive drooling, as well as a host of other symptoms like sore throat, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Mono is known as “the kissing disease", but don’t worry mom, your tot most likely contracted it through simple close contact with an infected person.
In some cases, toddlers just don’t have proper mouth and tongue control to prevent drooling, although most children have control over drooling by the time they reach 4 years of age. Certain conditions that can result in the overproduction of saliva include allergies, poisoning, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), reaction to insect or snake venom, or the use of certain medications. In severe cases, neurodegenerative diseases like cerebral palsy can cause excessive drooling. Certain disorders that make it difficult to swallow, such as autism, Down syndrome, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis can also be the culprit.