Why Do Babies Drool So Much?

21 January, 2021
Some parents wonder why babies drool so much. The truth is that they do it because their swallowing mechanism isn’t yet developed. In some cases, it can be due to a health problem.

Many parents wonder why babies drool so much. The truth is that they shouldn’t worry about this. Babies start drooling when they’re about two months old. This is completely normal. Bibs weren’t invented for nothing!

You may feel concerned when your little one gets saliva on their hands, shoulders, sheets, and almost everything around them. But it’s common to see babies with saliva hanging from their mouth and even making bubbles with it.

There’s no reason to worry about why babies drool so much. Natural causes are behind this mechanism. The important thing is to keep your baby well protected with a bib, especially in cold weather.

Drooling in babies

A baby drooling.
Usually, drooling in babies is completely normal. It can be due to processes typical of its stage of life, such as learning to swallow or teething.

Soon after birth, babies don’t drool too much. This is because their body doesn’t produce much saliva at first. But, with the passage of time, that production increases. Thus, when babies are about ten weeks old, they’re already drooling at all times of the day.

The point is that, to prevent saliva from leaking out of their mouth, babies need good control over their lips and tongue. However, they lack this control in the first months of life. Many people wonder why babies drool so much, even though milk doesn’t come out of their mouths when they feed.

The reason is very simple. To feed, babies use their mouth muscles to make a sucking movement, and this movement is automatically followed by swallowing. Instead, the saliva is produced in their mouth without them even knowing it, which collects there until it overflows.

Why do babies drool so much?

Babies produce more saliva than adults. They expel it from their mouths because they haven’t learned to swallow yet. An adult swallows saliva every four to six minutes when they’re awake and every seven to eight minutes when they’re asleep. Babies do it much less frequently, which is why they drool more.

There are other reasons why babies drool. One of them is teething, as this study published in the Medical Journal of the General Hospital of Mexico states. From the third month of life, movements in the gums help to make way for the appearance of the first teeth. This causes irritation and discomfort. Thus, in this case, saliva acts as a lubricant.

Read on to learn more: Repositioning a Baby Tooth

Also, saliva contains enzymes that prevent infections during teething. This is why babies drool more every time a new tooth comes out. Similarly, when babies start complementary feeding, their taste buds secrete more saliva.

In this case, the saliva helps break down and mix food, as babies can’t chew yet. Thus, saliva helps form the bolus, which must then reach the stomach.

How long do babies drool excessively for?

A baby smiling.
Experts don’t precisely know when babies stop drooling excessively. However, saliva production tends to reduce significantly after 18 months.

Thus, there’s no single answer to the question of how long babies drool excessively for. Each case is different. However, when babies are 12 months old, they’ve usually developed more control over their drooling and you see less saliva in their mouth.

Another important drooling reduction moment is when a baby turns 18 months. That’s the age at which teething usually ends, leading to reduced saliva production.

However, we must emphasize that this doesn’t necessarily apply to all cases, since it’s normal for a baby to drool up to age two or older.

This article may interest you: Description of the Anatomy of the Pharynx

When to worry

The reasons why babies drool are rarely related to health problems, as this study published in Pediatrics & Child Health states. If your baby starts eating poorly and drools, even when they don’t put their hands in their mouth, something may be wrong.

It could be a sign that their throat is sore or that they have mouth sores, which is why they feel pain when they swallow their own saliva. In those cases, it’s good to look inside their mouth to see if anything is wrong. If they continue eating poorly and excessively drooling, it’s best to take your baby to the pediatrician.

If your baby still drools after age three, it may be a sign that they have difficulty swallowing. It can also be a symptom of a psychological condition that’s hindering their development. These cases must be left in the hands of a health professional or your baby’s pediatrician.