Prevalence of drooling in children with cerebral palsy attending special schools

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2003 Sep;45(9):613-7. doi: 10.1017/s0012162203001117.


Prevalence of drooling in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and its severity across dental age (i.e. children with primary, mixed, and permanent dentitions) was investigated. One hundred and sixty children and adolescents (91 males, 69 females; mean age 10 years 10 months, SD 4 years 2 months; range 4 to 18 years) with CP who attended special schools were involved in this study. Sixty eight per cent of participants had spastic CP with the majority (45%) diagnosed as having quadriplegia. Presence or absence of drooling was determined by direct observation of the participants. Other data, such as age, sex, learning disability, and type of CP were collected using questionnaires. Results showed 93 of 160 children (58%) with CP had a drooling condition and of these 53 (33%) had severe drooling. It was found that the degree of drooling decreased as the child's dental age increased. Prevalence of drooling in children with primary dentition was found to be 75% as compared with 43% of those with permanent dentition, although this difference was not statistically significant. It was concluded that any invasive treatment to reduce drooling should, perhaps, be postponed until the child's oromusculature has matured.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Cerebral Palsy / classification
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disabled Children
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • School Health Services
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sialorrhea / classification
  • Sialorrhea / epidemiology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology