Managing Excessive Saliva in Pregnancy: How Your Dental Hygiene Routine Can Help

Dentist Blog

Some women suffer from an increase in the amount of saliva they produce in their mouths during pregnancy. Known as ptyalism or hypersalivation, this condition often comes hand in hand with morning sickness and often goes away when you get over your morning sickness. While producing too much saliva won't do you – or your baby – any harm, this can be an extremely unpleasant condition in itself, which may also make your morning sickness worse by increasing your nausea.

While there is no specific treatment for this kind of excessive saliva production, your daily dental hygiene routine may help you get it under some control.

Brushing and Flossing May Help

Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is an important part of a good dental hygiene routine. This routine may also help control the amount of saliva you produce. For example, brushing your teeth may help reduce the amount of saliva that comes into your mouth, especially if you use a mint-flavoured toothpaste. This may, at the very least, give you some temporary relief from excess saliva. Using a minty toothpaste may also be useful if your saliva tastes bad and makes you feel more nauseous, as it may make your mouth taste fresher.

You may find that it helps to brush your teeth more than twice a day to get some additional relief. For example, it may help to add a midday brush to your dental care routine. If you're finding that your saliva flow is making eating uncomfortable for you, then it may also help to brush your teeth before you eat a meal.

Warning: You do need to be careful when you brush your teeth to avoid damaging them. Your teeth start to deal with acids and sugars directly after you've eaten. This process makes your tooth enamel temporarily weaker. It's best to wait a minimum of 30 minutes after eating before you brush your teeth after a meal.

Consider Using a Mouthwash

People who suffer from hypersalivation outside of pregnancy may be advised to use an alcohol-based mouthwash after they've brushed their teeth. The alcohol in these kinds of mouthwashes helps dry up your mouth, adding to the positive effects of brushing on salivation.  

You may not, however, be happy to use a mouthwash that contains alcohol when you're pregnant. While some people believe that this kind of product has no effects on your baby because you don't swallow the mouthwash, others, such as the NHS, believe that you should avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes when you're pregnant.

Before coming to a decision, it's worth asking your dentist for advice. Your dentist may be able to recommend safe or alcohol-free products that may also help control your saliva production. In some cases, hypersalivation may be a side effect of gum problems, so your dentist can also check over your gums to make sure that they aren't contributing to your saliva problem.


28 April 2016

Teeth And Tears: Dental Dramas Of A School Nurse

I have worked as a school nurse for decades. Children come to me with all sorts of scrapes and bumps and bruises. Black eyes from playing football, sprained wrists from falling off the monkey bars and stomachaches from too many sweets are common complaints. However, the issue that seems to cause the greatest angst is tooth problems. Sometimes a child will have a second tooth knocked out when playing sport and parents arrive in tears. At other times, children come to my office crying because their friends are teasing them about teeth that are discoloured or stick out. I take an active interest in the latest dental news so that I can give parents and children comfort and advice. I have included some of my collected wisdom on these pages. Perhaps this information can help you understand some options when faced with a dental problem. Thank you for reading.