Often children with the cerebral palsy have trouble with the swallowing saliva, and we call that drooling. Drooling is caused by brain injuries. Children that have difficulty with swallowing may also have difficulty with the movement of their tongue.
There are two different types of drooling:
- Anterior drooling- When your child cannot swallow the saliva, and it comes out of their mouth. This causes problems because your child may feel embarrassed in school and can cause skin issues. The child may have trouble changing their clothes.
- Posterior drooling- The saliva goes to the lung instead of going to the stomach. The saliva may cause aspiration pneumonia. Those children often come to the hospital for pneumonia treatment, and they get sick a lot.
If your child has a problem with the drooling, there are different options of treatment available.
- Medication by mouth- It can be a pill or liquid form. These are easily provided at home.
- Seeing a physiatrist- Injections to the salivary glands can be given with a botulinum toxin. This lasts from three to six months and the injections can be repeated as long as necessary for the child.
- Surgical Intervention- Bring your child to an ear nose and throat doctor (also known as the ENT)
Drooling management is very important for children with cerebral palsy because of the medical and social aspects. It is important to address your child's drooling problems with a medical professional.
"Drooling management is very important for children with cerebral palsy because of the medical and social aspects."