Dry mouth during pregnancy is in reality quite a common symptom but is rarely a cause for complaint by expecting mom’s when compared to the other, more uncomfortable symptoms. However, this does not mean that it isn’t important to treat the condition. In fact, dental studies show that dry mouth (called xerostomia) causes increased incidence of gum disease, cavities and other oral health conditions which have been associated with premature birth.
The main reason for this is that the lack of saliva in the mouth prevents food residue from effectively being washed away. This in turn causes a greater production of plaque which is the primary cause of oral health problems. High acidity from vomiting during pregnancy can exacerbate the condition.
So what can be done about alleviating this uncomfortable and hazardous oral pregnancy symptom. These hints and tips may help.
- Drink More Water
During pregnancy, your liquid intake requirements are increased. Generally, a minimum of 8 glasses a day is recommended, including your regular intake of liquid contained in fruit, vegetables and other food sources. It is advisable to avoid fruit juices (acidic) or sugary drinks that can increase the risk of contracting any oral health disease.
Keep a water bottle close at hand so that you can constantly sip. Sipping will allow the water to perform the rinsing job that your saliva would normally be responsible. It will also help alleviate dry mouth during pregnancy. Sucking on ice chips can also be beneficial.
- Mouth Wash
Rinsing your mouth out regularly with mouth wash can help reduce the risk of oral diseases and alleviate dry mouth symptoms. It is especially important to use mouth wash before brushing if you have been vomiting.
Women who experience ‘morning sickness’ regularly or all day long are at high risk for eroding the enamel on their teeth through the increase in acid which is also a cause of dry mouth. It is important not to brush teeth directly after vomiting, rather rinse and wait a few minutes for the acid to dissipate.
Make sure that the mouth wash is alcohol free and doesn’t contain any additives, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors that could be harmful to baby. Check the label to ensure safety of use during pregnancy and always follow the instructions carefully.
- Chew Gum
Much like placing a pebble in your mouth in the dessert, chewing gum can stimulate saliva production. However, it is once again important to choose gums that don’t contain any harmful ingredients. Remember to opt for a sugar-free alternative that is healthier for your teeth.
Don’t chew the gum too often or constantly. This could stimulate excess acid production in the stomach leading to more uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms such as heart burn or increased nausea and vomiting.
If you are unsure which mouth wash or gum is most suitable, ask your dentist or doctor for their recommendation. Remember that good oral health is essential not only in alleviating the symptoms of dry mouth but also for good general health during pregnancy.