Some pregnant women may report experiencing dry mouth during pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy are usually responsible for dryness of the mouth. But some other underlying factors may also lead to the condition. For instance, gestational diabetes is one of the common causes of dry mouth in pregnancy.
Read this post to learn about the causes, symptoms, and tips on managing dry mouth during pregnancy.
What Is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth or Xerostomia is a condition that arises due to the reduced flow of saliva from the salivary glands. Saliva is necessary for lubricating the oral tissues and protecting the mucosa. A drop in its production can make chewing, swallowing, and tasting difficult, and also lead to tooth decay and various oral infections (1).
Here are the symptoms associated with dry mouth:
- Dry and pale white tongue
- Mouth sores (2)
- Sore throat
- A sticky feeling inside the mouth
- Bad breath
- Chapped lips
- Parched throat
- Excessive thirst
- Change in the sense of taste (3)
- Burning sensation (4)
There could be various reasons that lead to a dry mouth during pregnancy. Keep reading to know what they are.
What Causes Dry Mouth During Pregnancy?
Here is the list of reasons that may cause dry mouth during pregnancy:
- Dehydration: Insufficient fluid intake will not produce enough saliva, making your mouth dry (5). During pregnancy, you need to drink more water to prevent dehydration, as water is said to support fetal circulation, amniotic fluid, and higher blood volume (6). Along with dry mouth, if you find any of the below symptoms, then it could be dehydration.
- Dark yellow urine
- Hormonal fluctuation: The changes in the hormonal levels could also reduce the flow of saliva (7).
- Increased blood volume: An increase in blood volume, and increase in filtration rate in kidneys might cause frequent urination that leads to fluid loss from the body (8). Insufficient water content in the body can reduce saliva production, causing dry mouth.
- Vomiting: It creates an acidic environment inside the mouth and causes fluid loss from the body. If the saliva is not enough to flush out the acidic fluids, then the mouth could get dry.
- Lifestyle: Consuming alcohol and beverages containing caffeine, using tobacco products, intake of salty or spicy foods, and mouth breathing can also lead to dry mouth (2).
- Medications: Medicines used for the treatment of high blood pressure during pregnancy could also lead to dry mouth (10).
- Gestational diabetes: Abnormally high glucose levels during pregnancy could lead to dry mouth (11). Along with dry mouth, other symptoms of gestational diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Infections of the bladder and vagina (12)
If the dry mouth is due to common causes such as dehydration, hormonal, or lifestyle changes, then it could be reduced with some home remedies. However, if you have noticed any additional symptoms that could indicate an underlying cause, then it is best to consult your doctor.
Next, we talk about a few home remedies that could help in relieving dry mouth.
Tips That Might Relieve Dry Mouth During Pregnancy
Here are a few home care tips that might ease the discomfort of dry mouth:
- Take more fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
- Sucking ice chips also help in moistening your tongue.
- Try to keep the mouth closed during sleep, as mouth breathing tends to make it dry, especially during the night. If you have a cold or congestion, steam inhalation helps in clearing the airway passages that let you breathe through the nose and not the mouth.
- A humidifier helps in moistening the room that could help in reducing the dryness of the mouth.
- Sugar-free chewing gum helps in stimulating the salivary glands to secrete saliva.
- Avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol as it leads to dry mouth.
- Maintain oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Cut down on coffee, tea, and aerated drinks as they can make you thirsty.
- Reduce the intake of salty and sugary food.
When To Go To A Doctor
If these home remedies fail to provide relief from dry mouth, or if you are experiencing a relapse, then the cause might be deeper. In such cases, it is best to visit your doctor and find out why you are experiencing dry mouth during pregnancy. Some of the treatment options could be:
- Test for gestational diabetes, followed by diet changes and appropriate medication, if necessary.
- Investigate if any medications are causing the dry mouth and if yes, then change the prescription.
Dry mouth during pregnancy can be caused by hormonal changes, lifestyle changes, pregnancy-related vomiting, certain medications, or conditions such as dehydration, gestational diabetes, and anemia. Some home care treatments for dry mouth relief include drinking enough water and fluids, sucking ice chips, using a humidifier at home, maintaining oral hygiene, avoiding smoking, and reducing caffeine usage. However, if home treatments fail to relieve dry mouth or if you are having a relapse, you should check for other symptoms and see a doctor.
- Some women may experience decreased saliva flow during pregnancy due to factors such as hormonal changes or anemia.
- A few symptoms associated with dry mouth are pale tongue, mouth sores, and bad breath.
- Sucking on ice chips and using a room humidifier may help manage the condition.
2. Anita M. Mark; Limiting the effects of dry mouth; American Dental Association (2017)
3. Dry Mouth: A Primary Symptom of Sjögren’s; Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, Inc (2019)
4. Dry Mouth; American Dental Association
5. Dry mouth; NHS inform (2019)
6. Kristen S. Montgomery; Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond; The Journal of Perinatal Education
7. Dry mouth syndrome; State of Victoria (2018)
8. Common Physical Changes During Pregnancy; National Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc (2019)
9. Johansson I; Effect of iron-deficiency anemia on saliva secretion rate and composition in the rat; NCBI (1994)
10. Xerostomia and Hyposalivation (“dry mouth”); Division of Oral Medicine and Dentistry, Brigham And Dentistry, Brighamand Women’s Hospital
11. Gestational diabetes; NHS (2016)
12. Jorge Mestman, Guillermo Umpierrez; Gestational Diabetes; The Journal Of Clinical
Endocrinology and Metabolism