Many different health problems can cause problems swallowing among children. For example, children may have problems swallowing if they have a cleft lip or palate, have dental problems (such as teeth that do not meet properly), have a large tongue, or suffer from a disease that affects the nervous system, like a brain injury, nerve injury, or muscular dystrophy. Children may also have problems swallowing if they have large tonsils, a tumor or mass in their throat, paralysis of the vocal cords, prematurity, or developmental delays.
Children with a swallowing difficulty, or dysphagia, may exhibit obvious symptoms that they have problems swallowing. Or, these symptoms may be difficult to associate with swallowing issues. As a parent, here are some of the signs to watch out for that could indicate your child has problems swallowing:
- Your child eats slowly
- Your child attempts to swallow a mouthful of food several times with limited success
- Your child gags while eating or drools significantly
- If you have a baby or younger child, they have a hard time coordinating swallowing or sucking movements
- During feedings, your baby arches their chest or stiffens their body
- Your child experiences frequent respiratory infections
- Your child or baby spits up or vomits on a frequent basis
- After eating, food or liquids come up through your child’s nose
- During mealtimes, your child becomes unalert
If your child has problems swallowing, a Modified Barium Swallow test may be needed. For more information, please reach out to us at TwinCity Medical Mobile.