Excess saliva during pregnancy, also known as ptyalism or sialorrhea, is a common condition that affects many pregnant women. It is caused by the increase in hormones and blood flow in the body during pregnancy, which can lead to a sensation of excess saliva in the mouth.
While excess saliva is generally harmless, it can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. In this article, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of excess saliva during pregnancy, as well as some tips for managing it.
Causes of excess saliva during pregnancy
The primary cause of excess saliva during pregnancy is the increase in hormone levels in the body. During pregnancy, the body produces higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to an increase in blood flow to the salivary glands. This can cause the glands to produce more saliva than usual, leading to the sensation of excess saliva in the mouth.
Another possible cause of excess saliva during pregnancy is morning sickness. Many women experience nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy, which can lead to a dry mouth and an increased production of saliva.
Symptoms of excess saliva during pregnancy
The most common symptom of excess saliva during pregnancy is a constant feeling of wetness in the mouth. This can make it difficult to talk, eat, or even breathe comfortably. Some women may also experience increased drooling, particularly at night.
In some cases, excess saliva during pregnancy can lead to other symptoms, such as:
Swollen salivary glands: The increased production of saliva can lead to swelling of the salivary glands, which are located under the jaw and in front of the ears. This swelling can cause discomfort and make it difficult to eat or drink.
Changes in taste: Some women may notice changes in their sense of taste during pregnancy, which can make certain foods taste bitter or metallic. This can be particularly unpleasant if the excess saliva mixes with these flavors in the mouth.
Difficulty swallowing: In some cases, the excess saliva can make it difficult to swallow food or liquids, which can lead to discomfort or even choking.
Dental problems: Excess saliva can lead to a build-up of bacteria in the mouth, which can increase the risk of dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease.
Tips for managing excess saliva during pregnancy
If you are experiencing excess saliva during pregnancy, there are several things you can do to manage the condition and make yourself more comfortable:
Drink plenty of fluids: Dehydration can make the sensation of excess saliva worse, so it is important to drink plenty of water and other fluids. Avoid sugary drinks, which can promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
Chew sugar-free gum: Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva production and keep the mouth moist. It can also help to clear away any excess saliva that may be accumulating in the mouth.
Avoid spicy or acidic foods: These types of foods can irritate the mouth and make the sensation of excess saliva worse. Try to stick to bland, easy-to-swallow foods, such as crackers, toast, or rice.
Use a saliva substitute: If your mouth is particularly dry, you can try using a saliva substitute, such as a mouth spray or gel. These products can help to keep the mouth moist and alleviate the sensation of excess saliva.
Talk to your doctor: If your excess saliva is severe or causing you discomfort, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe medication to help reduce the production of saliva and provide relief from the symptoms.