Nearly, 1 out of 10 people has diabetes. One common sign that diabetics experience is dry mouth. Dry mouth (xerostomia) occurs when a person fails to produce enough saliva. Let’s look into why diabetics experience dry mouth. And, what are the ways to improve the oral hygiene.
Why do diabetics experience Dry Mouth?
Xerostomia and diabetes often occur together. Why? Two primary reasons for dry mouth for diabetics are:
- high blood sugar levels in saliva
- medication side effects.
There are other causes as well. These are not directly linked to diabetes, yet may increase the problem. These are:
- Breathing through mouth
- Poor hydration
- The progression of diabetic neuropathy
Oral Health Implications of Dry Mouth
Saliva plays a key role in the digestion process and oral health. Dry mouth is the decrease of saliva in the mouth. Oral health gets affected by dry mouth. Saliva washes food particles and bacteria off the teeth. Also, it neutralizes the acids of mouth, avoiding tooth decay and gum problems. Hence, a lack of saliva enhances the risk of tooth decay. This condition may cause other problems such as:
- salivary gland infections
- mouth sores
- oral thrush
- irritation around the corners of the mouth
- problems in people with dentures.
To defend the oral health, it’s better to take care of the dry mouth signs and causes.
Signs of dry mouth
Dry mouth problems are common in diabetics. A person might notice stickiness in the mouth. Also, a person may have bad breath. Mouth sores, cracked lips (particularly, corners) and dry throat can also occur. Also, speaking can be difficult. People with dry mouth can have excessive thirst. Other signs can be sore throat, hoarse voice, and dry and swollen tongue.
What is the association between xerostomia and diabetes?
Its high occurrence in this population may be due to:
- High sugar levels: In diabetics, sugar levels may go too high. The term for this is hyperglycemia. And, it may cause dry mouth.
- Dehydration: Diabetic patients are more prone to dehydration.
- Diabetes drugs: Diabetes medicines may also cause dry mouth as an adverse effect.
- Kidney conditions: Gradually, high blood sugar may result in renal problems, which can bring about dry mouth.
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What a person can do
- Talk to a dentist about medicine. If any medicine is leading to dry mouth, discuss with a health care provider. They may change the dosage or even the medicine type. Also, there is an option of using a saliva substitute.
- Monitor the sugar levels. To avoid high blood glucose from dry mouth, regularly monitor the levels. Keep the levels under control by:
- consuming right
- consuming medicines as prescribed
- following health care provider’s other guidelines.
Also, a person can relieve dry mouth signs by following these tips:
- Sip water often and during meals.
- Keep away from caffeine.
- Use a mouth spray for dry mouth.
- Avoid spicy or salty foods.
- Avoid the use of tobacco or alcohol.
- Make use of a humidifier at night.
- Chew sugarless gum or enjoy a sugarless hard candy. This stimulates saliva flow. A person can try citrus, cinnamon, or mint flavors.
Oral Hygiene for Dry Mouth
Good oral hygiene prevents dry mouth from diabetes. Brush teeth at least two times a day. Brushing can be done after every meal. And if a person wears dentures, ensure cleaning them once a day.
When it comes to dry mouth, treatment alternatives are available. Drinking enough pure water can be very helpful. Also, a person can use sugar-free mouthwashes, mints, and gums. These stimulate the production of saliva. Never use alcohol, tobacco products, and caffeine. All such products make dry mouth problems inferior. Few easy lifestyle changes are enough to reduce or eliminate the problem.
Another smart tip is to discuss with a doctor about medicines a person is taking. Few medicines prescribed to diabetics can stimulate side effects like dry mouth. It is possible that a doctor can adjust medicines to try and ease this sign. Now that a person knows more about dry mouth and diabetes, one must be prepared to handle the problem. The more than a person can do to alleviate dry mouth, the better it will become. Effective dry mouth treatments help in good health.
Don’t forget oral hygiene! The key is that there’s a lot a person can do to support himself or herself. They can feel their best. Begin taking steps to take care of your dry mouth today. Your mouth can smile more tomorrow.
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