14 answers

7 Yo with Not Swallowing Saliva Issues

My 7 year old has this thing she has been doing for several months. I thought that she would stop after a short while, but it seems to be getting worse. She doesn't like to swallow her saliva. She lets it build up in her mouth and then she spits it in garbage cans or sinks or toilets. She will go to talk and she won't have swallowed for a while so she will be balancing the spit in her mouth with trying to talk. It is so gross and annoying. I will tell her that she needs to swallow her spit because her stomach needs saliva to help digestion and help the foods break down in her stomach. She doesn't seem to care. I ask her why she is doing it and she said she doesn't know. I ask her if it is painful to swallow and she says no. I ask her if she is afraid something will happen if she swallows and she says no. She just has managed to create this very bad habit. Anybody experience this before? What helped you? Should I just let it go? I am afraid that it will continue to get worse and worse and turn into something else.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

We went to the doctor yesterday to discuss the saliva issue. She has had other behavior issues in an extreme way the past few months, and the doctor is thinking they are all tied into each other somehow. She is suggesting counseling, which is what I was leaning toward anyway, because of her poor behavior full of anger every day. Thanks for all of your advice and kinds words.

Featured Answers

Aren't kids funny and weird sometimes? :) Here's a few ideas... The Discipline Book by Dr. Sears has a chapter on annoying habits that might be helpful. How about give her a cup with a straw, and make her "drink 3 big swallows" before she talks for a week or so? If that doesn't work, maybe she's old enough to say that spit grosses others out, and it's a private matter, therefore she may visit the bathroom frequently and deal with her "issue" with the door closed, or learn to swallow and be with people. That sounds kind of harsh, but it might do the trick if you think she's old enough. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Just off the cuff, I would try something that she has to suck on that might help her digestion and make the spit taste better. There is a product out there that is a ginger wafer. It is kind of like a chewable vitamin C, (which could also help) but larger and thinner. People suck on them to help with nausea or acid reflux. Maybe she would get her back into the habit of swallowing. Otherwise, I might refuse to let her go anywhere until she stops. I would out to diner, to the movies, and not take her along until she chooses to act appropriately. If she can do that to go out, then she can do it all the time. Isn't parenting an amazing journey?

2 moms found this helpful

Any history of reflux that you know of?

1 mom found this helpful

My sister's son has difficulty with eating and swallowing foods due to their texture... she was referred to an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory integration disorder. Children's Hospital could probably recommend someone. Perhaps a few sessions with someone trained in helping kids overcome things like this would help. I'd try to help her with this before it becomes too much of an ingrained habit. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I've had problems with my 11 year old doing this. He only refuses to swallow when he's sick & it usually has to do with sinus drainage. (yuck) I don't know if this relates to your problem but here is what we do. Buy vitamin c drops for your child to suck on and if your not against it, let her chew gum. Make her brush her teeth more often & give allergy medicine as needed. We've explained the rules to our son & we still struggle at times. I hate finding spit in the sink. I just to try and remember that it grosses him out to swallow and he doesn't like the taste & he has to unerstand that there are right ways and wrong ways to deal with spit. Chances are, this is just a phase, but don't rule out calling physician. Try and stop if from becoming a habit. You might want to even check with your dentist. Maybe it's a cavity or mouth issue that your dentist might knows about. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

This may be way off base - and if it is, please forgive me. I

t could be early stages of OCD and eating disorder.

I suffered from Anorexia for 11 years - nearly killed myself. So I tend to look at little girls weird behaviors a little differently.

Anorexia and related eating disorders are popping up in younger and younger children - thanks to our twisted media. And little girls 'hear' things from their friends, and big sisters, about what makes you 'fat' and little tricks you can do to keep from getting fat. Like not swallowing your saliva.

Only you will know if there could be a seed of eating disorder growing in your daughter. And I encourage you, if you think there might be the tiniest possibility, to do something about it immediately. Easting disorders are NOT something that will go away on their own. And they often start with OCD behaviors.

As I said in the beginning, please forgive me if this is not the case. You'd be surprised how many mothers go ballistic at the suggestion that their daughter may have an eating disorder - only to find themselves, many years later, in hospital wards fighting for their daughters lives.

Blessings,

M.

1 mom found this helpful

Aren't kids funny and weird sometimes? :) Here's a few ideas... The Discipline Book by Dr. Sears has a chapter on annoying habits that might be helpful. How about give her a cup with a straw, and make her "drink 3 big swallows" before she talks for a week or so? If that doesn't work, maybe she's old enough to say that spit grosses others out, and it's a private matter, therefore she may visit the bathroom frequently and deal with her "issue" with the door closed, or learn to swallow and be with people. That sounds kind of harsh, but it might do the trick if you think she's old enough. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Does it bother her teacher or friends? It might take someone other than you to get through to her that its sort of gross. I bet once one of her peers makes a big deal out of it, she'll stop. Otherwise, maybe have her talk to the doctor. I wonder if hearing that she needs to swallow her saliva from a "professional" might make a difference.

1 mom found this helpful

My son was constantly clearing his throat and driving me crazy. At first I thought he had a cold and then thought it could be his asthma (I tried using his inhaler to no avail), but after weeks of this I finally took him to the doctor. She could find nothing wrong with him and told me that they sometimes need some counseling. She simply told him to quit doing it and if he felt the need to clear his throat he should try drinking some water. We left her office and he was cured. I was amazed! Hope this helps.

L. M.

1 mom found this helpful

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