"Ptyalism" is a strange-sounding word for excessive saliva. Ptyalism can occur in anyone, but it is not uncommon for pregnant women to experience this condition, especially during the first trimester. Ptyalism is most likely to occur in pregnant women who are suffering from extreme nausea and morning sickness (called hyperemesis gravidarum).
The exact cause of ptyalism during pregnancy remains uncertain, but changing hormones probably play a role. Also, women who feel nauseous may make an effort to swallow less, which allows saliva to build up in the mouth. And the heartburn and nausea can prompt the salivary glands to produce more saliva to coat the esophagus and protect against the irritation of the mouth and throat that occurs with frequent vomiting.
There is no single cure for ptyalism. But some of these strategies might help you put up with the problem:
- Brush your teeth. You should be following a regular oral care routine during pregnancy anyway to prevent gum disease, and brushing your teeth and using mouthwash several times a day can help keep excessive saliva at bay by making it easier for you to swallow.
- Drink water. Taking frequent, small sips of water can help you swallow the excess saliva without aggravating your nausea.
- Eat right. Try to eat smaller but more frequent meals and try to avoid excessively starchy foods, such as white breads.
- Grab some gum. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on hard sugarless candy can make it easier for you to swallow excess saliva.