Pregnancy causes multiple changes in the body that can affect the mouth and cause dryness. The body also uses more water during pregnancy, which may lead to dry mouth.

Dry mouth can be a typical symptom of pregnancy due to hormonal changes, a need for increased water intake, and bodily changes affecting the mouth.

In some cases, dry mouth may be a symptom of thrush, gestational diabetes, or sleep apnea, which people can manage with medical treatment.

This article examines dry mouth during pregnancy, its possible causes, when to seek help, and more.

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Dry mouth is one of the most common oral health issues in pregnancy.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), hormonal changes during pregnancy may cause dry mouth.

During pregnancy, an increase in estrogen and progesterone, increased blood flow in the body, and increased acidity in the mouth can all lead to oral changes.

The body also requires more water during pregnancy, so not drinking enough fluids may lead to dehydration and a dry mouth.

Dry mouth in pregnancy can be a typical symptom, and home remedies may relieve dry mouth.

However, in some cases, dry mouth may indicate an underlying condition such as thrush, sleep apnea, or gestational diabetes.

Some possible causes of dry mouth during pregnancy include the following:


People require more water during pregnancy, and not getting enough fluids may lead to dehydration.

Nausea during pregnancy may make it more difficult for people to drink water, and morning sickness can also lead to a loss of fluids.

Dehydration may cause a dry mouth. Other symptoms of dehydration can include:

Oral thrush

Oral thrush occurs due to an overgrowth of Candida, a type of fungus.

According to a 2017 study, pregnant people may be more prone to developing oral yeast infections. This may be due to increased acidity in the mouth during pregnancy, which can promote Candida growth.

Symptoms of oral thrush include:

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs in pregnancy. People with gestational diabetes have blood sugar levels that are too high.

Diabetes can cause a dry mouth. Gestational diabetes does not usually cause symptoms, but people may experience mild ones, such as increased thirst and urinating more often than usual.

Sleep issues

Dry mouth may worsen at night, as the production of saliva drops during sleep. Breathing through the mouth when sleeping can also worsen dry mouth.

People may experience sleep issues during pregnancy due to hormonal, physical, and psychological changes. Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, significantly increase during pregnancy.

People with sleep apnea may be more likely to experience dry mouth, particularly in moderate to severe cases.

People may be able to treat dry mouth with home remedies, such as:

  • aiming to drink 8–12 cups of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration
  • sipping water when eating to help make it easier to chew and swallow food
  • chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy to stimulate saliva flow
  • avoiding caffeine and tobacco, which can be drying to the mouth
  • avoiding spicy or salty foods, as these may be painful to eat with a dry mouth
  • using a humidifier when sleeping
  • maintaining good oral hygiene, which can help relieve dry mouth and prevent complications such as cavities

With an underlying condition

If an underlying condition is causing dry mouth, treatment may include:

People can see a doctor if dry mouth persists. A doctor can check for any underlying causes.

Dry mouth may increase the risk of tooth decay and fungal infections of the mouth, so seeking treatment is important in preventing complications.

Getting prompt treatment for underlying conditions such as gestational diabetes can help people have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

This section answers some common questions about dry mouth and pregnancy.

When does dry mouth start in pregnancy?

A dry mouth may develop at various points in pregnancy, depending on the cause:

  • Nausea and vomiting: People may begin to experience symptoms before 9 weeks of pregnancy. Symptoms may resolve by 14 weeks or continue for weeks or months, possibly throughout the whole pregnancy.
  • Gestational diabetes: This condition usually develops around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Any related oral symptoms may develop around this time.
  • Oral thrush: This may be more likely to occur in the first or third trimester due to an increase in oral yeast at these times.
  • Sleep issues: These commonly occur after the first trimester of pregnancy. Some sleep problems may cause symptoms such as dry mouth.

Is dry mouth a symptom of gestational diabetes?

According to the ADA, dry mouth can be a symptom of diabetes, particularly with unmanaged diabetes.

Gestational diabetes may also cause people to feel increased thirst and urinate more frequently than usual. Doctors will test anyone who is pregnant for gestational diabetes at 24–28 weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy causes changes in the body that can cause dry mouth. Conditions such as thrush or gestational diabetes may also cause a person to experience it.

If dry mouth persists, people can see a doctor to determine the underlying cause and get treatment.