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Pregnancy is a joyous period filled with hope and joy. However, nurturing a baby is not quite simple. Being pregnant means having to experience several sensations that include body aches, tiredness, cramps, insomnia, and nausea. One of the common conditions that pregnant women experience is known as dry mouth or cottonmouth. This article will help you understand the reason behind experiencing dry mouth, its consequences as well as tips and tricks to handle the situation.
What Does “Dry Mouth in Pregnancy” Mean?
Scientifically known as xerostomia, dry mouth during pregnancy is a byproduct of the hormones coursing through your body, causing several chemical changes. It is commonly experienced during the first trimester of pregnancy and often worsens at night. Dry mouth symptoms can include a stuffy nose, headaches, metallic tastes, hot flashes, indigestion, cracked lips, and so on.
Consequences of Dry Mouth in Early Pregnancy
There are many complications because of dry mouth in the first trimester of pregnancy other than the symptoms mentioned above. For instance, sometimes you might notice that your tongue has become pale white in colour after getting up in the morning. It occurs because of the loss of water in the form of excess urination or vomiting that happens in the first trimester. In addition to being uncomfortable, dry mouth can have an impact on oral health. This is because saliva is necessary to wash down the food particles after every meal, as well as to reduce the risks of having harmful microbes grow in your mouth. The latter could easily lead to dental and gum problems like gingivitis, plaque, and cavities. It is crucial to not ignore this as oral health has shown to influence the development of the foetus.
Causes of Cotton Mouth While Pregnant?
Nearly every pregnant woman is going to experience dry mouth and bad breath that comes with it. Some of the potential causes that cause dry mouth include.
1. Prescription Medication
Several prescription or over-the-counter drugs tend to have dry mouth as a side effect. These medications include antidepressants, bronchodilators, diuretics, and so on. While this might be annoying, please do not stop taking any medicines unless your doctor says that it’s alright.
Even if you get your regular eight glasses of water a day, you may still find yourself with cottonmouth every morning. This is because your hydration requirements increase due to the heavy duty work your body is doing to create another human being.
3. Rise in Blood Volume
The amount of blood in your body is only going to increase during pregnancy, with its peak volume around fifty percent higher than in a non-pregnant woman. Due to this, the kidneys will be working overtime, consequently increasing urination rates and dehydration, which can cause dry mouth.
4. Increase in Metabolic Rates
Your cellular activities such as producing energy, breaking down food, and so on will also increase drastically. This ends up utilising the water present in the body, which needs to be replenished regularly.
Does Dry Mouth Indicate Any Complications?
Dry mouth should never be ignored during pregnancy as it can easily be an indicator of some more serious conditions that could have a negative impact on your health as well as your baby’s. Any of the following require immediate treatment to protect yourself and your pregnancy.
1. Pregnancy Diabetes
Pregnancy diabetes or gestational diabetes might be the reason behind the dryness of mouth. This could be because the rise in sugar levels due to gestational diabetes might reduce the amount of water in your body through urination. It is associated with symptoms of thirst, burning pain in the mouth, broken lips, and so on.
Anaemia is diagnosed when dry mouth appears with symptoms of throat dryness, cuts appearing on the lip corners, and burning feeling in the tongue.
If your cottonmouth comes with a searing headache this might be due to a jump in your blood pressure.
Mouth Dryness Treatment and Management during Pregnancy
Dryness of mouth is not a specific problem, therefore, it has no specific regimen in order to control it. The key is to take care of the underlying issues that are causing the cottonmouth in the first place. The best thing to do is to drink at least two to three litres of water every day to avoid getting dehydrated.
Tips to Deal with Mouth Dryness during Pregnancy
There is no need for you to suffer the discomfort of dry mouth when you already have to experience so much more during this delicate time. Here are some tips that can help ease mouth dryness during pregnancy:
- Drink water more frequently, even if just a few sips. You can also suck on small pieces of ice to keep your mouth wet.
- Attempt to breathe through the nose at all times, even during sleeping, to prevent water from evaporating from your mouth.
- You can also take in steam facials, where you breathe in hot vapour for around twenty minutes a day. This will avoid internal dryness.
- Please do not consume alcohol or coffee during pregnancy. In addition to all the other dangers they pose, these two can cause dehydration.
- Similarly, skip cigarettes during your pregnancy. Smoking has been known to worsen dry throat during pregnancy. In fact, quit smoking altogether as cigarettes are simply toxic to the body.
- You can use a humidifier in your bedroom if you live in dry areas.
- Chew gum (preferably sugar-free) as the action of chewing stimulates saliva production.
- Maintain a high standard of oral health. This means consistent brushing and flossing of teeth in the morning, night, and after every meal. Though it might seem excessive, these precautions are essential.
- Drink tender coconut water. It is rich in various nutrients like vitamins and minerals, and also contains electrolytes which can balance the buffers in your blood.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet replete with green veggies, whole grains, nuts, and lean meats. Avoid sodium as it can lead to water loss from the body.
When to Call a Doctor?
As explained above, dry mouth poses no dangers and can be controlled quite easily. However, if you also go through symptoms such as headaches, burning sensations in the buccal cavity, extreme fatigue, acute thirst, diarrhoea, nausea and so on, consult your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy and hormones go hand in hand. You simply cannot have one without the other. Cottonmouth is one of the side effects of your rapidly changing body, indicating the metabolic, anatomical and, physiological alterations your body is going through just to create your little one. However, even though the dry mouth is of small concern in the face of the other potential complications of pregnancy, you should still stay aware. Please remember to keep a note about all the different changes your body is experiencing through the pregnancy; use a diary or notepad if necessary. This will help you keep track of any new symptoms that might suddenly develop.