Drooling in Toddlers

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have a 15-months-old client with a repaired cleft palate who drools. Should I be working on the drooling issue?

It is normal for a child to drool now and again until age three or so. I would not be concerned about the drooling unless the child was drooling profusely most of the time.  If she were drooling most of the time, I would look at her feeding skills.

Most children who drool to excess have feeding/swallowing issues as well.  A child who constantly drools: (1) does not swallow often enough, (2) does not swallow well, and (3) has an oral system that is not sensing saliva accumulation.  These three problems almost always affect both feeding skill and saliva management. Treat the saliva problem as part of the feeding disorder.

Let me recommend the following…


  • Johnson, H., & Scott, A. (1993) A Practical Approach to Saliva Control. San Antonio: Communication Skill Builders. This book is a great overview of all issues related to saliva management– pharmaceutical, surgical, and therapeutic. It describes the basic methods of these avenues of management.
  • Marshalla, P. (2001) How to Stop Drooling. Mill Creek: Marshalla Speech and Language.  My book is designed for preschool children and above, and is written for parents. It takes a cognitive/behavior management approach.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.