Dry mouth, also referred to as cotton mouth or flannel mouth, and other bad tasting side effects can occur during pregnancy. But what exactly causes it and what can you do to make it go away?
Cotton Mouth or Dry Mouth
As your body stores water to help with an increase in blood volume, dry mouth can sometimes be a result. It can often strike during the first trimester and even extend into the second trimester between the 14-26 week mark.
Dry mouth can be an early sign of pregnancy as your body prepares itself for gestation. It can appear both early in the morning and late at night and has been known to be a reaction from some medications that are taken during pregnancy. These medications include, but are not limited to, antidepressants, pain relievers, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, sedatives and decongestants.
While dry mouth or cotton mouth is not a serious issue, the shift in pregnancy hormones leading to dry mouth can be a nuisance, particularly when accompanied by cracked lips, excess sweating, frequent urination and a burning feeling in the throat area. Dry mouth can occasionally be a symptom of gestational diabetes which can usually right itself with adequate exercise and a healthy diet after you have given birth. Dry mouth can also be a product of hypertension or anemia. If not treated, it can lead to bad breath, gum infection or even extreme tooth decay.
To counteract dry mouth, you need to drink more fluids to keep hydrated at all times. If you suffer from morning sickness or frequent urination, drinking liquids is doubly important. Cutting out tea, coffee and soda is also helpful during this period. You can also try gargling with salt water or a mix of baking soda and water.
Drinking fluids or sucking on ice chips is a great way to avoid dry mouth and replenishing liquids like coconut water can help. Chewing gum, candy or lozenges to help stimulate saliva in the mouth can be beneficial as can regular tooth brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash. You can also try using a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep. Eating healthy and avoiding sugary or sweet foods will help maintain the quality of your teeth throughout your pregnancy and for a long time afterwards.
If dry mouth is an ongoing issue during the pregnancy, note that it should disappear once your baby is born.
Bad or Metallic Tastes
A metallic or bitter taste sensation known as dysgeusia, and sometimes referred to as metal mouth, can often materialize during the first trimester. It can increase the intensity of morning sickness and also create aversions to particular foods like seafood, eggs, meat and chicken.
Dysgeusia is caused by high levels of oestrogen that can alter your perception of taste and overall enjoyment of food.
Drinking lemonade and citrus based drinks can reduce the metallic taste as can marinating foods in sour juices, vinegar or soy sauce. Frequent brushing of the teeth and tongue, flossing and using a mouthwash can, as in the case of dry mouth, be a safeguard against it.
Thankfully the metallic taste vanishes around the second trimester.
Maintaining a healthy diet and adequate nutrition throughout your entire pregnancy is important regardless of whether or not you suffer from dry mouth or other taste related issues. It is important to visit your doctor if you are concerned about your health or that of your baby.