What Is a Saliva Rash?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

A saliva rash is a form of contact dermatitis that can break out around the mouth, face, and throat in babies. Also known as a dribble rash, it occurs because infants tend to drool and the saliva is alkaline, which irritates the skin. It also contains traces of digestive enzymes which can create further irritation. This condition usually resolves as children age and develop better control over drooling. In some cases medical attention may be required because the infant could also have a skin infection or another problem.

In the mouth, saliva provides lubrication and some of the enzymes needed to start the digestive process. Infants, who are still developing motor control, tend to drool and dribble, leaving deposits of saliva around their mouths. This can cause a rash which may be raised, reddish, and bumpy. The saliva rash may come and go over time.

Several measures can be used to address a saliva rash. Regularly washing a baby’s face with a gentle soap designed for infants and patting it dry can reduce skin irritation. This will remove the saliva deposits so they don’t have a chance to cause skin irritation, without leaving the skin moist; this can cause eczema over time. Using a bib to catch saliva during meals can also help, as can wiping the face with a moistened wipe after the baby has eaten.

Ad

Sometimes a saliva rash occurs at the same time as a bacterial infection. Surface bacteria or fungi can take advantage of the skin irritation to start colonizing the skin, in which case the rash may get worse and the infant may become distressed. A gentle topical medication can treat the infection until it clears. It is advisable to talk to a pediatrician or other medical professional trained in caring for children about which medication to use, as infant skin is delicate and some preparations may be too harsh for the face.

Skin creams are also available to soothe skin irritation and keep the skin lubricated to reduce the incidence of eczema. If a baby has a recurrent saliva rash that persists despite keeping the face clean, and an examination reveals no signs of an underlying bacterial infection, it may be advisable to consider using an infant moisturizer. These products can reduce discomfort. They may take several days to be fully effective, and it is again important to use a product safe for infants in order to avoid harming the fragile skin of the face.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

serenesurface
Post 3

@SarahGen-- Are you using a teething dummy for your son by any chance?

My grand-daughter also had a persistent saliva rash when she started using a teething dummy to relive teething pains. Teething dummies are great but they increase drooling and can cause saliva rash.

You might want to take a break from the dummy if you're using one.

fBoyle
Post 2

@SarahGen-- Yea, a saliva rash can happen even when you're taking all precautions. He might be drooling during the night also.

I think the best remedy is an ointment. Ask your pediatrician for an ointment that will act as a barrier between your son's skin and the saliva.

Some people use petroleum jelly for this, but there are better, safer ointments for babies out there. It's also possible to use diaper rash cream as long as it doesn't get into the baby's mouth. I used to use diaper rash cream on my daughter when she got a saliva rash and it would clear it up immediately.

SarahGen
Post 1

My son has a saliva rash on his chin. The skin there looks very irritated and red.

He always wears bibs while eating and I try to wipe his drool as soon as possible, but the rash has not gone away. What should I do?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email