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Challenges in managing drooling in children


Drooling is the unintentional loss of saliva from the mouth, either anteriorly (visible) or posteriorly (with a risk of coughing, vomiting, aspiration and chronic respiratory disorders).1,2 Anterior drooling is normal in infancy, but is considered neuro-developmentally abnormal if it occurs in children over the age of 4 years old, and is commonly seen in those with physical, intellectual and learning disability, and poor neuromuscular coordination and oral control.1,3–7 For example, drooling occurs in 10–38% of children with cerebral palsy.6,8 Drooling is usually due to failure to clear saliva rather than hyper-salivation (sialorrhoea), and a head-down posture and sucking on fingers or clothing may be contributory factors.1,2,5–7 Here we review the challenges associated with the management of drooling in children.

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