Are you waking up parched, a million times a night?
Is your unquenchable thirst starting to drive you crazy?
Your body is going through so many changes right now, and you have the symptoms to prove it. Although you want to get rid of the annoying dry mouth fast, with pregnancy, you’re extra cautious about every little thing that goes into your body.
So how can you manage this issue safely and effectively?
In this article, we discuss why good oral hygiene is important during pregnancy, why mouth dryness happens during pregnancy, and ten of the best ways to relieve this condition.
What Is Dry Mouth?
This is a condition where your body isn’t making enough saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry and sticky.
Here are some common symptoms:
- Sticky, dry feeling in your mouth or throat.
- Trouble chewing, swallowing, and talking.
- Dry, cracked lips.
- Mouth sores.
- Dry, rough tongue.
- Burning sensation in your mouth.
- Unquenchable thirst.
What’s Causing My Dry Mouth?
Here are five reasons for this issue during pregnancy.
Something as simple as not drinking enough water could be the culprit. Your body is working harder than it ever has, to nourish your baby. So, your metabolic rate speeds up, increasing your caloric and fluid needs. The water you consume helps deliver all the essential nutrients to your placenta.
2. Hormonal Changes
Especially if you’re still in the first trimester, these can cause a reduction in saliva, creating your dry mouth.
3. Increased Blood Production
Pregnant women have as much as 50 percent more blood flowing through them, to reach the placenta and meet the needs of the baby (source). So, to keep blood volume high, the body may retain water during pregnancy, and this may cause dry mouth.
Because your blood volume is higher in pregnancy, it is necessary to keep up your fluid intake. This fact alone can contribute greatly to dry mouth, especially as the blood volume is increasing in early pregnancy.
Editor's Note:Christine Traxler, MD, BS
4. Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is abnormally high glucose levels in your blood triggered by pregnancy. It causes frequent urination and excessive thirst, which could be a reason for your problem.
Most women are screened for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. But if you’re concerned earlier, request a test from your health care provider, as gestational diabetes puts mom and baby at risk for complications (source).
Medications, such as antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants, diuretics, antidepressants, or other prescription drugs could be another underlying cause. There are over 400 medications on the market right now, with dry mouth listed as an adverse reaction (source).
Oral Health And Pregnancy
Did You Know?
Dry mouth can trap food in your teeth, gums, and back of your mouth, promoting bacterial growth. The low levels of saliva associated with the condition reduce your ability to fight off bacteria.
While dry mouth is usually not serious, if you don’t treat it, the bacteria will build up, potentially leading to bad breath, bleeding gums, infections, and even tooth decay (source).
As you are more susceptible to dental problems, it is vital to take good care of your oral health. Otherwise, it could affect your health, pregnancy, and baby’s health.
Relieving Dry Mouth During Pregnancy
1. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is key to preventing dry mouth. During pregnancy, you should be drinking ten 8oz. cups of fluids each day, preferably water (source).
Coconut water, tea, and fruit juice are other good options. Sip on fluids throughout the day to stay well hydrated. Dark yellow urine means you need to drink more water. If it’s clear yellow, you’re staying hydrated.
2. Avoid Coffee, Soda, And Alcohol
Coffee, soda, and alcohol all cause dehydration and dry out the mouth, so it is best to avoid them, which you should be doing during pregnancy anyway (or at least keeping to an absolute minimum).
3. Ice Chips Or Frozen Fruit
Sucking on ice chips or frozen fruit throughout the day will moisten your mouth, keep you hydrated, and soothe any mouth sores you may have.
4. Use A Humidifier
Using a humidifier at night keeps moisture in the air and helps with your dry mouth. Be sure to empty and clean your humidifier often to prevent bacteria and mold growth.
5. Use Hard Candy Or Chewing Gum
Chewing on sugarless hard candy or chewing gum can stimulate saliva flow and keep your mouth lubricated.
6. Avoid Sugary And Salty Foods
Sugary and salty foods simply irritate and dry out your already dry mouth. So, avoid foods high in sugar and salt content, such as potato chips, pretzels, chocolate, ice cream, and many other processed foods.
7. Breathe In Some Steam
Breathing in steam for 10-15 minutes daily opens up your airways and relieves your dry mouth. Boil some water on the stove and hover over the pot to breathe in the steam.
8. Try Ginger
Chewing on some ginger or drinking ginger tea might be a relief, as it activates the salivary glands and freshens the mouth. Plus, ginger helps with nausea, which I’m sure many of you are experiencing during your pregnancy journey.
9. Avoid Mouthwashes With Alcohol
If you’re big on mouthwash, be sure your brand is alcohol-free, as the alcohol can be drying. Most mouthwashes do contain alcohol, so if you must use mouthwash, look into buying one specifically designed for dry mouth.
10. Oil Up
Pulling coconut oil not only works for dry mouth, but also whitens your teeth, freshens your breath, kills bacteria, and can even help with tooth decay (source).
Take two tsp. of coconut oil (preferably organic, unrefined, cold-pressed) and lightly swish it around in your mouth for about 10-20 minutes (or at least for as long as you can withstand). You may have to chew up some of the coconut oil for a few seconds first to break the solid into a liquid.
After the 10-20 minutes are up, spit it out, and rinse your mouth with water. A perfect time to do this is while you shower or get ready in the morning.
Hit Refresh On Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is just of the many changes your body experiences during pregnancy.
The condition usually isn’t serious, but if left untreated, could lead to serious dental complications, which you’re already at higher risk for with being pregnant.
It’s quite a nuisance, but can easily be prevented and relieved with the ten tips we’ve listed above.
Did you experience dry mouth during pregnancy? Tell us in the comments which remedies worked for you, and be sure to share this post with your parched pregnant friends.