Sialorrhea (drooling) in Children With Cerebral Palsy

In 2001, I had the pleasure of working on a research project with Dana L. Suskind, MD and Ann Tilton, MD that was presented at the 16th annual meeting of  The American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology.  The study was performed at Children’s Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana. You can download and read the program here (see page 58).  You can read the study abstract posted here.

Drooling, or sialorrhea as it is referred to in the medical community, is the excess production of saliva or the inability to keep the saliva in the oral cavity.  In children, this is very common up to a specific age.  In adults, I normally see drooling after a stroke or associated with a condition known as dysarthria.

In children, it is very normal to have excess drooling, especially when teething.  Infants explore their mouth with their fingers, toys and other objects.  Much of the saliva ends up on fingers, hands, arms, and eventually onto a bib or the child’s clothes.  But when is drooling abnormal?  Drooling becomes abnormal when it interferes with normal speech and swallow mechanisms.  Some of the causes of drooling can be neurological or functional in nature.  Low muscle tone in the oral cavity, allergies, and upper respiratory illnesses  can cause excessive drooling.

At The Therapy Group of Tucson, we treat children and adults with speech, language and  swallow disorders.  For more information about our services, or how we may help you, please contact us here.  We are here to help you.

About Kyle Meades

John Kyle Meades, CCC-SLP has practiced Speech & Language Pathology since 1993. Therapy Group of Tucson, PLLC provides private, powerful and effective speech, occupational, physical & ABA therapy services in Tucson, AZ


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