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Ask Claire: Why Toddlers Still Drool

Q. My 2 1/2-year-old drips like a faucet. Should he still be drooling?

Alas, kids this age still drool—some of them more than others—and the vast majority have absolutely nothing wrong with them. That said, there are a few reasons that a child can be extra slobbery. Drool can accumulate if he doesn't swallow often enough; rarely, this can be due to an infection or blockage in the throat or a neurological issue. Cavities and other dental problems, as well as certain medications (though not ones usually given to kids), can sometimes cause drooling as well. So if your son is having trouble eating or drinking, has mouth or throat pain, is taking regular medication or has any developmental delays, it's worth checking in with your doctor. Otherwise, there's no reason for concern, and it should stop within the next year or so. In the meantime, stock up on bibs and extra shirts!

Claire McCarthy, M.D., is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Send her your questions at