Drooling is the excessive secretion of saliva in an involuntary manner, flowing outside the mouth . The salivary glands of babies that started developing when they were in their mother’s womb advance a step further after birth causing them to drool excessively .
Infants start salivating at two to four months of age that may last up to eighteen months or even two years [1, 3, 7].
Infants drool as their mouth muscles are not yet developed in the first two years of their life, making them unable to swallow well. After their second birthday, their oral motor function gets better, gradually lessening and stopping the process of drooling [1,4]. Other responsible factors may include:
Mouthing: Your baby’s mouth, having a greater number of nerve endings in comparison to any other body part, leads him to put things into his mouth when he desires to get a feel of them. In this process, the amount of saliva he produces is often beyond his swallowing capacity .
Teething: Though drooling does not always indicate teething, it is one of the primary symptoms your little one shows when he is about to cut his first tooth. Other teething signs include red cheeks, ear pulling, and hand biting. [6, 12].
It might also result from a few health issues:
If your baby continues drooling even after two years of age then it might be an indication of a neurological disorder like cerebral palsy , autism , and Bell’s palsy  or because of an undeveloped swallowing mechanism.
Apart from drooling if your baby has a fever, lessened appetite, restlessness, mouth sores and prolonged bad breath, consult your doctor as it might indicate some of the above health issues.
Though it is not possible to prevent the excessive secretion of saliva as it occurs because of a natural mechanism, you can take certain measures to maintain proper hygiene when your baby is drooling.
Published on August 22nd 2015 by Pregmed Editorial Team.
Article was last reviewed on 5th September 2015.