A baby putting its finger in its mouth Everybody produces saliva. We need saliva to help us chew and swallow food, and to keep our mouths clean and healthy. Most people swallow up to 1000 times each day to remove saliva from their mouth. Children who dribble do not produce more saliva than others, but may have difficulties in coordinating the movements of head, neck and mouth to swallow this saliva.

Children learn to control their saliva when they have learned how to coordinate their tongue and lips without effort.

You can help by:

  • encouraging your child to sit and stand well with their head up
  • encouraging your child to put their lips together (say mmm) and swallow
  • pat your child’s mouth and chin dry – do not wipe as this stimulates more saliva
  • don’t allow your child to suck/chew dummies, fingers or other items
  • brushing their teeth and regular visits to the dentist
  • encouraging to pat their own mouth dry with a tissue

Children need time to learn saliva control. Don’t worry! Your child will have good days and bad days. You may find that...

  • concentrating or learning a new task
  • feeling tired, excited, poorly or having a cold
  • some medicines
  • strong or spicy foods
  • leaning forwards or having their head down

…may make it more difficult for your child to control saliva.

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