March 3, 2010

Causes, Symptoms & Treatment for Dry Mouth During Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

While pregnancy can be one of the most joyful events of your life it can also cause you to experience several uncomfortable conditions. Most of the common pregnancy symptoms occur because of the hormonal fluctuations that are taking place in your body. The alterations in metabolic activity that have been triggered off by conception usually cause a woman to suffer from nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal cramps, fatigue, frequent urination and sore nipples. In addition to these symptoms, you may also experience a significant increase in thirst or a dry mouth during pregnancy, which is often referred to as a cotton mouth. Several pregnant women feel their mouths getting very dry at some point or the other and wonder if this is normal, or a cause for concern.

Causes: Almost all women are prone to suffering from cotton mouth and bad breath, especially when they wake up in the morning. The exact causes of dry mouth during pregnancy are still not clear, but most health experts believe that this problem is caused by:

  • Dehydration: You may wake up with a dry mouth in spite of drinking the amount of water you normally have each day. This is because your body’s fluid requirement increases as your little one grows and develops within. The increase in the metabolic process and frequent urination because of pregnancy hormones could also cause your body to get dehydrated faster.
  • Gestational Diabetes: It is absolutely essential that you let your doctor know about the dryness in your mouth during pregnancy. This is because in some instances, mouth dryness could indicate diabetes. High levels of sugar in the blood also lead to increased thirst and urination. Diabetic women are more likely to experience mouth dryness, since their bodies lose more water as compared to healthy women.
  • Use of Prescription Drugs: You may also be prone to a dry mouth during pregnancy because of taking certain medication regularly. Mouth dryness is a common side effect of many prescription drugs. Though this is not a serious problem, it can be quite bothersome and therefore, you should speak to your doctor about it. Never discontinue any medication without getting a go ahead from your medical health care provider.

Symptoms: Dryness in the mouth is neither a disease nor a condition; rather, it can be described as a symptom of common underlying pregnancy problems. However, you may have a cause for concern in case you notice frequent mouth dryness along with other signs, like:

  • Cracked lips
  • Parched throat
  • Burning sensation in the mouth
  • Rawness on the tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty in eating or swallowing

Do speak with your health care provider in case you happen to experience any of the signs mentioned above. Your doctor may need to conduct a few tests to rule out the possibility of diabetes.

Treatment: Since mouth dryness is not a condition, there is no specific medical treatment for it. However, this does not mean that you have to live with the discomfort during your pregnancy; there are a few self-care measures and home remedies you can practice to reduce the dryness in your mouth. Given below are a few tips that you can try at home:

  • Suck on ice chips or take a few sips of water every half an hour or so, to keep your mouth moist. Drink a glass of water with each meal to facilitate swallowing and chewing.
  • Try to keep your mouth closed, even when you are asleep. Make a conscious effort to breathe through your nose before drifting off to sleep.
  • Breathe in steam for around 10 to 15 minutes each day. This helps keeps the nasal passages and airways moist. It also reduces dryness in the mouth.
  • Eliminate alcohol as well as caffeine from your diet, as they are diuretics and cause your body to lose water.
  • Practice good oral hygiene, which includes brushing, flossing and rinsing the mouth twice a day. Avoid using commercial mouthwashes, as they contain alcohol and can aggravate mouth dryness
  • Chew some sugar-free gum or suck on hard candy throughout the day, to stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth.
  • Place a humidifier in your room, especially during the night. This adds moisture to the air and can reduce the dryness in your mouth.
  • Quit smoking completely (in case you haven’t already done so) and avoid any exposure to smoke, as it causes your mouth to get dry.

You can also reduce mouth dryness by chewing on a few foods every few hours, especially celery, parsley and aniseed.

Pregnancy is a time when it is best that you be careful about every little thing you do. It is therefore important to speak to your doctor before trying any of the remedies mentioned above.