excessive saliva during pregnancy

When it comes to pregnancy, women can experience numerous symptoms, including nosebleeds, dizziness, mood swings and acne, among other ailments. The reasons and frequency for pregnancy symptoms can vary, but many pregnant women will agree that they’re unpleasant. A particularly bothersome side effect of pregnancy is excessive saliva production, also known as ptyalism. 

Experiencing excessive or thick saliva during pregnancy can be unexpected and distracting, which is why it is important to visit the dentist frequently while pregnant. Fortunately, you can use a few different tricks to treat ptyalism. Continue reading to learn more about the causes of excessive saliva during pregnancy and what you can do about it. 

What Is Ptyalism?

Also called hypersalivation or sialorrhea, ptyalism is a condition where your mouth produces too much saliva. The amount of saliva produced is noticeably more than “normal” and can even add up to one or two liters of saliva production every day. Those dealing with ptyalism may find themselves spitting into tissues at various points throughout the day to deal with the excess saliva. Others may feel like they’re swallowing too much saliva, causing nausea. 

Anyone can experience ptyalism. One of the most common groups of people that deal with excessive saliva is pregnant women, especially during the first trimester. While the effects of excessive saliva production can be uncomfortable or concerning, it’s important to remember from the beginning that ptyalism isn’t harmful to the baby you’re carrying, and it’s not a serious condition.

Often, after completing the first trimester, the symptoms of ptyalism will go away. But If you’re dealing with ptyalism now, you may be seeking answers as to why it happens in the first place and what you can do to make the symptoms more bearable until they go away. 

Ptyalism in the First Trimester

It’s important for pregnant women to remember that ptyalism is most common in the first trimester of pregnancy and should start to decrease in severity in the second trimester. Some women may actually begin to experience ptyalism as one of their first signs of pregnancy. In any case, the good news is that it should start to lessen as you enter the second trimester and beyond.

Here are some of the ptyalism symptoms you could experience as a pregnant woman in the first trimester:

  • Feeling like you always have too much saliva in your mouth
  • Frequently spitting saliva into a tissue to avoid excessive swallowing
  • Nausea related to swallowing too much saliva
  • Experiencing a prevalent bitter taste from the excessive amounts of saliva

Make sure to talk to your personal doctor for further guidance if you feel like your ptyalism is getting worse, especially as you complete your first trimester.

What Causes Excessive Saliva?

Like any ailment, you want to know the cause behind it. Knowing the cause can help you better cope with the symptoms, seek a solution and have a better understanding of how your body works and adapts to different conditions. The causes of excessive saliva production are unclear, but certain changes in your body can contribute to it.

Here are some possible contributors of excessive saliva production:

  • Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, your body’s hormonal production begins to change, potentially resulting in an overproduction of saliva as your body adjusts.
  • Esophagus protection: Many pregnant women are more susceptible to nausea and heartburn. This can lead to vomiting, which can take a toll on your esophagus. As a result, your body tells your salivary glands to produce extra saliva to coat your esophagus to help it withstand damage from the acid.
  • Nausea: Whether consciously or subconsciously, you may retain saliva in your mouth when you’re nauseous. If you’re feeling nauseous, you may be keeping your saliva in your mouth to avoid swallowing it and worsening your nausea.

treatments for ptyalism

Treatments for Ptyalism

Here are five tricks you can try to lessen your ptyalism symptoms.

1. Rinse With Mouthwash

Using an alcohol-free mouthwash throughout the day may help you cope with your excessive saliva. The mouthwash will remove leftover acids and bacteria that linger in your mouth to help keep your mouth healthier. That’s especially important if you’re retaining your saliva in your mouth. Using the mouthwash will give you an opportunity to freshen up and keep your saliva moving.

2. Brush and Floss Daily

While brushing and flossing your teeth every day is an essential part of every dental hygiene routine, it’s especially important when dealing with ptyalism. These actions can help remove the acids caused by frequent vomiting due to nausea and morning sickness throughout your pregnancy.

3. Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals

Put your excess saliva to good use by eating more frequent but smaller meals throughout the day. Instead of participating in the commonly accepted three meals per day, try spreading out the same amount of food across five smaller meals. Be sure to avoid excessively starchy foods like white bread, as the bacteria in your mouth can mix with those starches and cling to your teeth, leading to plaque buildup.

4. Grab Some Gum

Chewing sugarless gum may help you deal with the effects of ptyalism. The gum will provide a pleasant taste and help you swallow your saliva in a more comfortable way. If you don’t like gum, try sucking on hard, sugarless candies instead.

5. Take Small Sips of Water

Another way to swallow your excess saliva without exacerbating your nausea is to take small sips of water throughout the day. This trick will help you stay hydrated while lessening the uncomfortable feeling of swallowing too much saliva. 

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Contact Dental Choice Today

At Dental Choice, we strive to give you a comfortable, trustworthy dental experience so you can feel better about the state of your dental health. Additionally, we aim to make dental care more affordable so money doesn’t have to get in the way of achieving a healthier mouth. Whether you’re dealing with ptyalism or another oral health concern, Dental Choice can help.

Feel free to contact us today for more information or request an appointment to take the next step toward a healthier dental hygiene routine in one of our convenient locations in Edmonton, Calgary, and Red Deer.

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