Pregnancy can be an exhilarating journey, and being on the lookout for the signs and symptoms can be intriguing. One day you find yourself questioning whether your dull skin is because of the pregnancy or just because you’ve been up all night. Another day, you ask, “Is dry mouth a sign of pregnancy?”
Have you ever experienced dry mouth during your pregnancy? Do you think it’s because of pregnancy?
To answer this question in short, yes, dry mouth can indeed be a sign of pregnancy. It is not only an old wives’ tale but is also backed by science.
Many old wives’ tales circulate as to what might be a common pregnancy symptom. According to these generational old wives’ tales, during pregnancy, your nose appears wider, your taste buds change, you get acne, your hair starts to shine, or you get frequent dry mouth.
The guessing part can be quite fun, as every day, you come across a new change that might or might not be related to your pregnancy hormones.
Let’s dive into what the science says about dry mouth and pregnancy and how to deal with it.
What is Dry Mouth?
A dry mouth is a common symptom many women face in early pregnancy. A dry mouth, medically termed “xerostomia,” is a condition where the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth and throat lubricated. Dry mouth often occurs with serious health complications but is also a common early indication of pregnancy.
It is a manageable pregnancy symptom, but a few complications can be associated with it.
What Does Dry Mouth Feel Like? Understanding the Symptoms and Sensations
The symptoms of dry mouth can vary depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, people may only experience mild discomfort, while others may have severe symptoms that significantly impact their daily life.
Some of the most common symptoms of dry mouth include:
A Dry or Sticky Feeling in the Mouth
This is often the first and most noticeable symptom of dry mouth. The mouth may feel parched or as if there is a film or coating on the tongue and teeth.
Sometimes, in a more severe condition, you find yourself having trouble speaking. With a dry tongue and parched lips, you find yourself struggling to pronounce even the simplest of words.
A dry mouth often results in dry and cracked lips. With a dry mouth, you cannot lubricate your mouth enough, resulting in cracked lips. It can be a painful situation leading to bleeding and soreness. You can prevent this by keeping your lips moisturized with a lip balm or natural oils like coconut oil.
Try opting for natural ingredients, as they are less likely to irritate your skin. These natural ingredients will soften up your lips and prevent them from cracking.
Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste
An absence of saliva also leads to bad breath. The presence of saliva helps keep your mouth fresh, and the enzymes present in it break down food and bacteria. This not only kills the bad bacteria but also brings out the taste in your food.
Dry, Sore Throat
A dry throat can be a symptom of a dry mouth. This can cause discomfort and even pain when swallowing.
A dry mouth can increase the risk of developing mouth sores, as the lack of saliva makes it easier for bacteria and other irritants to damage the delicate tissues of the mouth.
In addition to these symptoms, dry mouth can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to speak to your dentist or doctor, as they can help to identify the underlying cause of your dry mouth and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Is Dry Mouth a Sign of Pregnancy?
If you are trying to conceive and notice dry mouth, does that mean there’s a bun in the oven? Or it’s just the stress of trying to conceive playing tricks on your body?
The truth is that a dry month is one of the many symptoms that occur in pregnancy due to hormonal changes, but it’s not a reliable indicator on its own. Many factors can cause a dry mouth, such as dehydration, medication, stress, and even certain foods. However, if you notice dry mouth along with other symptoms like missed periods, nausea, and fatigue, then it’s possible that you could be pregnant. Use an at-home pregnancy test to know for sure if you’re pregnant. These tests are reliable, convenient and also easy to read.
It’s best to get hold of an ovulation kit if you’re trying to conceive. These kits measure the luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in your urine, which typically surges just before ovulation. By using an ovulation kit, you can better predict when you’re most fertile and double your chances of conception.
Science Behind Dry Mouth in Pregnancy
Dry mouth is common symptom women experience during pregnancy, but what does science say about it?
According to science, some of the common reasons for dry mouth during pregnancy are:
Changes in Hormones
Your hormones fluctuate a lot during early pregnancy, and these changes affect each gland and strand of hair on your body. These topsy-turvy hormones leave the skin parched and the mouth as arid as a desert.
Morning sickness is so common that it affects almost 8 out of 10 women in the first trimester and doesn’t even have any timeframe. For some women, morning sickness can be mild and manageable; for others, it can be severe and impact their daily activities. Whether mild or severe, it can make your mouth parched and dehydrated.
Excessive morning sickness and nausea can also cause dehydration, so look for other symptoms and take plenty of fluids.
Increased Water Need
Naturally, your nutrition and water demands increase with a new life nurturing in your body. If before you were taking eight glasses of water daily, now you may require 10 or 12 glasses of water. Your body signals you to drink more water through a dry mouth.
It’s best to keep a convenient water bottle at hand and sip water throughout the day, as increased water intake maintains amniotic fluid levels and prevents constipation and dehydration. It can also help with swelling and bloating, common during pregnancy.
Not only medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications can leave your mouth feeling dry, the simple iron supplements can also be the reason behind your dry mouth. It’s always a good idea to take these supplements with juices containing vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps in the absorption of Iron.
How to Deal with Dry Mouth During Pregnancy
Although a dry mouth is nothing to be concerned about, it can, however be uncomfortable and impact your day-to-day activities. You have to deal with it as you do with other not-so-pleasant stuff like varicose veins, spider veins, backache, heartburn, swellings and the devil of all, illimitable mood swings
So, here are a few things that you can do to deal with a dry mouth during pregnancy:
Just like in the pregestation routine, you need to have an ample supply of water for your body. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help you deal with a dry mouth and prevent dehydration. Drinking enough fluids is essential, especially if you have morning sickness or are taking medication that causes dry mouth.
If you cannot drink plain water, try adding some natural flavours. You can also have herbal-infused drinks. Remember that soda and sugary and caffeinated drinks can dehydrate your body and worsen your dry mouth, so avoiding them is best.
Chew Gum or Suck on Candy
Candy or gum is an easy way to alleviate this problem. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free candy can stimulate saliva production and moisten your mouth. It also helps with your morning sickness and leaves a pleasant taste. However, be sure to choose sugar-free options to avoid any adverse effects on your teeth.
Always go for natural sweeteners like xylitol, as many artificial sweeteners may be unsafe for pregnant women. You can have these candies in your favourite flavour and packaging.
Taking these gums in moderation is essential, as excess may lead to bloating or even diarrhoea.
Opt for Ice Chips or Frozen Treats
You can suck on ice chips or frozen fruit pieces for a more natural approach. Just cut and freeze any fruit of your choice and enjoy it whenever your mouth feels dry. I personally love frozen grapes and strawberries.
Some women especially crave ice during their pregnancies. Although it is safe to suck on ice, it could be a tell-tale sign of iron deficiency or anaemia. It’s always better to check with the doctor and be safe.
Caffeine, commonly found in coffee, tea, and soft drinks, gives you a quick burst of energy but has adverse effects. Avoid caffeine, as it can further dehydrate your body and worsen your dry mouth. Instead, opt for non-caffeinated herbal teas or fresh fruit juices to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated.
If you are really in the habit of a morning brew, opt for a decaffeinated version.
Avoid Products with Alcohol
You already know that alcohol during pregnancy is a big no no, but what about everyday use items that contain amounts of alcohol? One of the main ones is your mouthwash. Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, so pay attention to labelling and buy an alcohol-free one.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during pregnancy, especially when experiencing dry mouth. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly to remove any food particles that may get stuck in your teeth. This will help prevent tooth decay and other dental problems arising from a lack of saliva in your mouth.
Pregnancy also puts you at risk of developing gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. So good oral hygiene in pregnancy can never be over-emphasized.
Use a Humidifier
If you think the weather is one of the contributing factors in keeping your mouth dry, use a humidifier. Using a humidifier in your bedroom can also help keep your mouth and throat moisturized. This is especially helpful during the dry winter months, when indoor heating can cause the air to become dry and dehydrating.
All these steps have helped many pregnant women across the globe in managing dry mouth. Try these to maintain good oral and overall health. In case of severe and persistent dry mouth, consult a doctor, as it can indicate underlying medical conditions or medication side effects.
How Long Does Dry Mouth Usually Last During Pregnancy?
The duration of dry mouth during pregnancy can vary from woman to woman. In some cases, it may last throughout the entire pregnancy, while in others, it may subside after the first trimester. The severity of dry mouth symptoms can also vary, with some women experiencing mild discomfort and others experiencing more severe symptoms.
When to Consult a Doctor for Dry Mouth
Sometimes dry mouth can be a symptom of a serious complication like gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a serious health condition that can harm you and your foetus if left untreated.
If you’re experiencing dry mouth and other symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, or fatigue, speak with your doctor immediately.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise modifications or medications to help manage your blood sugar levels. Managing a dry mouth with the tips mentioned earlier can also help control gestational diabetes.
It’s crucial to remember that gestational diabetes is a treatable condition, and with proper management, you can have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Consulting with your doctor and following their recommendations is the best way to ensure your and your baby’s health and safety.
Is Dry Mouth a sign of pregnancy for every Woman?
Every woman is unique, and pregnancy affects every woman differently. While some women may experience dry mouth during pregnancy, others may not experience it at all. However, it is a common symptom that affects many pregnant women, so don’t be surprised if you start to experience it yourself.
Are there Some Foods that Worsen Dry Mouth During Pregnancy
Certainly, some foods can worsen dry mouth during pregnancy. For instance, salty foods, caffeine, and sugary foods can increase dehydration, worsening your dry mouth. If you’re already managing dry mouth symptoms, spicy or acidic foods can exacerbate the situation. Similarly, too hot drinks or food is also not a good idea.
Remember that every person is unique, and one that works well with one person may not work with the other. It’s crucial to listen to your body and track how you feel after eating certain foods. If you notice that certain foods worsen your dry mouth symptoms, it may be a good idea to avoid them during pregnancy.
Foods that Help with Dry Mouth
Besides bland and room temperature foods, many other foods can help soothe dry mouth and speed up healing.
Fruits and Vegetables
Certain fruits and vegetables that are rich in water aid in keeping your body hydrated. A few fruits that can help with dry mouth and are great for overall health during pregnancy are citrus fruits, pomegranates, and strawberries.
Vegetables like cucumbers and celery are incredibly hydrating and can help with dry mouth. Include these items in your meal plan throughout the day. For example, adding sliced cucumber or watermelon to your salad can provide a refreshing and hydrating crunch.
According to old wives’ tales, you will have a beautiful baby if you drink coconut water daily during pregnancy. So, let’s have a glass of milky refreshing coconut water for our baby.
Whether true or not, coconut water is still a great tonic with amazing health benefits and helps with dry mouth symptoms.
Ironically some spices like cinnamon nutmeg and cardamom also help with dry mouth. Try having these spices with warm milk or milk tea.
Interestingly, in many Asian countries, women are given a concoction made of these spices in the third trimester to speed up labour.
Conclusion – Is Dry mouth a sign of Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a beautiful yet intriguing journey. Every day you encounter a new symptom and a newly discovered strength to manage it guilelessly.
From a swollen nose, moist hands, and breaking the skin to craving unpredictable food combinations, you may wonder, Is dry mouth a sign of pregnancy? To conclude, while not definitive, it can be a helpful indicator when considered alongside other common symptoms. The good news is you can easily manage its symptoms by following some tips and tricks. Some foods also help with relieving dry mouth.
However, if you feel the situation is out of control or just need some reassurance, it’s always best to consult your doctor. Typically, a dry mouth in pregnancy is easily manageable and goes on its own, like morning sickness and other not-so-pleasant issues. In the meantime, stay hydrated, use lip balm, and enjoy your journey into motherhood.