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Drooling in infants is very common from 2 to 3 months of age. It is the exit of saliva through the mouth, either due to excessive production by the child, or due to the inability to swallow it. It is usually associated with the appearance of teething, and the salivary glands mature from that moment.
If it appears abruptly, with or without fever, it may be associated with infections of the mouth or throat, and the child generally reflects pain or discomfort. In some cases it may be a sign of mental retardation or cerebral palsy if it occurs at older ages. It is a very frequent situation, which makes parents very uncomfortable, since the child is constantly wet.
Drooling or excessive salivation begins after 2 to 3 months of age, when your parotid glands (the largest salivary glands) mature. Babies at this age also develop the ability to chew and control their movements, such as putting their hands in their mouth, which further stimulates saliva production. However, babies are still unable to swallow all the saliva they produce, which is why drooling occurs.
Saliva has many benefits for the baby:
- Once you start eating solids, your saliva helps kill bacteria and food particles that can cause tooth decay. It also helps digestion by starting the digestion of carbohydrates.
- Saliva contains a growth factor that, when ingested, helps the intestine mature. It also helps neutralize stomach acid and protects the esophagus from irritation in cases of infant reflux.
Although the baby starts drooling around 2 to 3 months of age, tooth eruption does not occur until 6 to 8 months of age. But the teeth or tooth cores begin to move within the gums much earlier, with only a couple of months to live, and this also stimulates saliva production. Saliva acts as a lubricant, and contains enzymes that fight infection. That is why your saliva production increases each time a tooth comes out.
Also, since they do not have incisor teeth, they cannot act as a barrier, and their mouth is usually open. Drooling normally disappears by age two, when the motor function of the mouth improves.
As we have seen, saliva has many beneficial effects, therefore you do not have to do anything in particular to reduce drooling.
It is true that it can cause some irritation of the skin of the face and neck and in these cases it is advisable to apply specific creams for this reason that the pediatrician can recommend. It is also advisable to avoid humidity changing the child's clothes frequently, or putting on cotton bibs to avoid infection and irritation.
In cases of sudden onset, associated with worrisome signs or symptoms such as fever, pain when swallowing, difficulty breathing, an urgent evaluation by the pediatrician is necessary.
You can read more articles similar to Drooling of the nursing baby, in the category of on-site development stages.