Is Dry Mouth a Sign of Pregnancy?

Dry mouth

Dry mouth is definitely a sign of dehydration, though it may sometime indicate pregnancy in healthy and sexually active females.

Needless to say, that it is not a specific sign, but one of the many signs to look for, particularly if the menstrual cycle did not start on the expected day.

Commonly available pregnancy tests are indeed highly reliable, and signs like dry mouth cannot replace them. However, one cannot keep testing frequently. Thus, it is also vital to understand the various signs of early pregnancy.

Some common signs of early pregnancy

Unintended pregnancies are more common in the US as compared to other developed or even many developing nations. Studies show that almost half of all the pregnancies in the US are unplanned [1],[2].

Unintended pregnancy increases certain risks for both maternal and fetal health. Early recognition, by identifying sure signs might help.

Thus, early identification may help to get prenatal care promptly. One may go through the necessary health checks. It also helps to take various precautions, starting to take prenatal vitamins, and so on.

A missed period should always raise the alarm for any woman. However, for many females, with irregular periods, that may not be enough.

Other signs that are particularly useful are nausea/morning sickness, frequent urination, fatigue, cramping, changes in appetite, headaches, and even dry mouth.

Dry mouth may occur due to numerous reasons in early pregnancy

During early pregnancy, there are severe hormonal changes that might cause dehydration. These hormonal changes also cause morning sickness, which may add to a dry mouth [3].

Pregnancy causes an increase in water demand, not only due to the developing baby but also because the body starts retaining more water.

There could be other reasons for a dry mouth like fluctuations in the body temperature.

Extreme thirst and mouth dryness might indicate diabetes

Diabetes often starts with symptoms like excessive peeing, thirst, and urge to eat more. Many women livings with mild or early-stage diabetes might not know about it. However, pregnancy may exacerbate the condition.

Extreme thirst mouth dryness might indicate diabetes. It is also necessary to differentiate between type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. If diabetes is diagnosed in the early stages of pregnancy, it is most probably a type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is only diagnosed after 24 weeks of pregnancy [4].

Gestational diabetes is somewhat linked to type 2 diabetes, since, many women diagnosed with it may ultimately develop type 2 diabetes.

Mouth dryness should not cause worry, but excessive dryness and thirst is a reason to check for diabetes.

Pregnancy and a higher risk of oral infections

It is one of the lesser-known topics. However, studies show that majority of pregnant women have some issues related to oral health. Inflammation of gums or bleeding and other oral manifestations are quite common in early pregnancy [5],[6].

Worsening of oral health due to pregnancy might also increase the feeling of dry mouth. On the other hand, mouth dryness might make oral issues worse.

Sleep issues and dry mouth

Studies show that pregnancy makes snoring worse [7]. Snoring is one of the signs of sleep apnea, a condition that leads to breathing issues and poor sleep quality.

Sleep apnea is more commonly associated with low saliva production, breathing through the mouth, oral dryness, and poor dental health.

It means that in many cases, mouth dryness might indicate worsening of sleep apnea due to hormonal changes in the early pregnancy.

Symptoms of dry mouth

Identifying a dry mouth problem is not as straightforward as it might sound. It might also cause other symptoms. Throat soreness or various throat infections (like pharyngitis) are more probable to occur during periods of dry mouth.

Dry mouth may cause a change in taste, difficulties in swallowing.

It might also cause nasal dryness, and even more frequent nasal bleeding.

People with dry mouth may also suffer from bad breath.

Thus, in many cases, if a person fails to identify dry mouth, the presence of some of the symptoms mentioned above might indicate the condition.

Getting rid of dry mouth

Fortunately, in most cases, dry mouth is not a cause for concern or a visit to a doctor. Thus, it can be readily treated with the help of various home remedies.

  • Increase fluid intake – by drinking lots of water. In the case of morning sickness, ginger tea might be a good option.
  • Sugar-free chewing gum– stimulates the production of saliva and thus helps prevent dry mouth.
  • Sugar-free candies – is another right way of stimulating saliva production.
  • Using a humidifier at night– as for many women, dry mouth may be worse at nights, causing frequent wakening. Humidifiers can not only help reduce dryness, but they may also be useful for those living with sleep apnea. Humidifiers also help prevent specific respiratory issues.
  • Practice good oral hygiene– it means brushing your teeth more often, particularly before going to bed. It might not help much with dry mouth, but it can help prevent oral infections, tooth decay, and other problems.

Other things to add to the daily regime could be frequent use of mouth wash.

Avoid drinks that are known to worsen mouth dryness like coffee. Avoiding alcoholic beverages is not only vital for fetal health but may also reduce the severity of sleep apnea and resulting mouth dryness.

Sometimes, it is a good idea to see a doctor, particularly if the dryness gets worse. The doctor may help exclude potential disease conditions like diabetes.

Some women might have worsening mouth dryness due to certain medications. The doctor may also help treat oral health issues like fungal infections, and so on.


To conclude, dry mouth is not a specific symptom of pregnancy, as it might happen due to many reasons. However, it may indicate early pregnancy in many cases.

It may help identify unintended pregnancy when used, along with other signs of pregnancy.


  1. Unintended Pregnancy in the United States. Guttmacher Institute. Published January 26, 2012. Accessed July 10, 2020. [Link]
  2. Grimes DA. Unplanned pregnancies in the United States. Obstet Gynecol. 1986;67(3):438-442.
  3. Festin M. Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. BMJ Clin Evid. 2009;2009. Accessed July 10, 2020. [Link]
  4. Tests & Diagnosis for Gestational Diabetes | NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Accessed July 10, 2020. [Link]
  5. CDC Division of Oral Health. Pregnancy and Oral Health Feature | CDC. Published February 19, 2019. Accessed July 10, 2020. [Link]
  6. Boutigny H, de Moegen M-L, Egea L, et al. Oral Infections and Pregnancy: Knowledge of Gynecologists/Obstetricians, Midwives and Dentists. Oral Health Prev Dent. 2016;14(1):41-47. doi:10.3290/j.ohpd.a34376
  7. Dominguez JE, Krystal AD, Habib AS. Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Pregnant Women: A Review of Pregnancy Outcomes and an Approach to Management. Anesth Analg. 2018;127(5):1167-1177. doi:10.1213/ANE.0000000000003335
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