While baby drool can be an annoying (albeit critical) process of teething (and child care) that you can’t do anything about, you and the parents can prevent drool rash. Drooling and excess saliva in general are just part of a young baby’s growth. At that age, everything is centered around their mouth. From three to six months in particular, this can be very common in babies.
Drooling and saliva are responsible for many roles in a newborn.
- It keeps the baby’s mouth moist
- It helps wash away food or milk residue
- It can make it easier for a baby to swallow, especially since saliva can soften food
- Once a baby has teeth, it reduces tooth decay.
- It also helps digestion due to the enzymes present in saliva which both change starches into sugars and neutralize stomach acid.
Sometimes, though, there’s just simply too much drool. The little one may develop a skin condition, sometimes called a teething rash, as excess saliva production is associated with teething. Saliva is thought to soothe their irritated gums. New parents may also wonder how long drool rash lasts. Most babies stop having bouts of drool rash when they’re in the 15-month to 18-month range.
Signs & Symptoms Of Drool Rash
Drool rash often looks like flat or slightly raised patches of reddened skin with small red bumps. These can appear on the mouth, cheeks, neck, or even chest. Sometimes the skin appears chapped as well. The patches may be moist or dry. Milder versions of drool rash may initially present as irritated skin.
Does Drool Rash Hurt?
Some parents wonder if drool rashes and teething rashes hurt. It depends. Some babies do experience pain, if it’s not resolved quickly. And some babies are simply irritated, but not in pain.
Is All Skin Irritation Drool Rash?
No. Sometimes drool rash can look similar to other forms of dermatitis. A good way to narrow down the cause is to see if a baby has any other allergies or irritants besides drool that could be causing the problem.
What Causes Drool Rash?
Drool rash is simply caused by too much drool. When that much liquid is left lingering on the baby’s delicate and sensitive skin for an extended period of time, it’s easy for a rash to develop. But where is all this drool coming from?
Excess saliva is a very common symptom of teething. Babies may gnaw on their hands or other objects as their teeth begin to erupt. Saliva then drips down their faces, necks, and bodies where it can gather and pool.
If a smear of food is left on a baby’s face for too long, it can also lead to a drool rash. Sometimes food gets on their faces when they’re experimenting with solids. Or they may not be able to keep food down if they don’t have their front teeth in yet.
These are another culprit for teething rashes. As pacifiers can stay in babies’ mouths for a long time, saliva trickles out gets trapped between the pacifier and the chin. This gives time for the drooling rash to develop.
While these are the major causes, a baby may also just drool a lot. So what can you do to prevent and manage drool rashes? There are a few solutions.
Prevention Is Key
The best thing you can do is prevent drool rash in the first place.
Frequently drying the baby is a good idea. Especially after feedings. Keep a burp cloth handy and make sure to wipe down their drool. Don’t focus on just the face. Make sure to check the folds of their neck and pat down the chest as well. Dab gently—remember their skin is sensitive!
You can also use a bib to protect their chest. This can prevent chafing and a rash if the baby soaks through their shirt quickly. Change bibs as needed.
Eliminate Other Irritants
Make sure you’re using baby-safe detergents, soaps, and other cleansers. When in doubt, choose the fragrance-free option. Cleaning their pacifiers and teething toys frequently also helps. You can monitor the baby to see if a particular object or product worsens the rash when present.
Clean & Apply Soothing Creams
Wash the affected areas gently twice a day. It’s going to take time for the skin to heal and you don’t want an infection to set in. Check with your physician to see if you can use an ointment like Aquafor or petroleum jelly to soothe your baby’s skin and create another barrier.
When To Call the Doctor
If you’re not seeing improvement with home treatment or spot any of the following signs, it may be a good idea for the parents to get in touch with their pediatrician. They can go over the next steps.
If the rash begins to crack, ooze, or weep other fluid. This could be a sign of an infection, and a physician may give parents an antibiotic.
- If the child has a fever.
- If they’re having difficulty breathing or swallowing, reach out. This may also be a sign of an allergic reaction or a sign of choking.
- If the baby is fussy or refusing to eat.
Now that you know more about drool rash treatment and prevention, the next step is application. You can find a family and a child that suits you and your schedule on Sittercity.