Xerostomia or dry mouth, is one of the most common symptoms of type-1 and type-2 diabetes. Approximately 20% of the population suffer from it.
But it is not experienced by every person suffering from diabetes. People without diabetes can also have dry mouth.
Facts About Diabetes And Dry Mouth
Saliva keeps the mouth clean and also removes harmful bacteria that cause cavities and other infections of the mouth. It also neutralizes the acid present in the mouth and provides the moisture that is required to chew and swallow food.
But when a person suffers from dry mouth, their body does not produce enough saliva.
Symptoms of dry mouth
One may recognise dry mouth by the following symptoms:
- Rough and dry tongue
- Lack of moisture in the mouth
- Continuous pain in the mouth
- Chapped lips
- Mouth is sore
- Infections present in the oral cavity
- Difficulty in talking, chewing and swallowing
- Loss of sleep
- Altered sense of taste (metallic or sour taste in mouth)
- Tooth decay
Causes of dry mouth
There are multiple causes of dry mouth, like not drinking enough liquid, sleeping with your mouth open, kidney dialysis, smoking, etc.
Some medications, like ADHD medicines, antidepressants, sleep medications and narcotics, can also cause dry mouth. Once the underlying problem is removed, dry mouth tends to disappear.
Thus it is a temporary problem with an easy fix. But for people suffering from diabetes, dry mouth can be a serious problem. It is a common symptom of type-1 and type-2 diabetes, as high blood sugar levels can cause dry mouth.
On the other hand, dry mouth can also be a cause of high blood sugar. Dry mouth can cause tooth decay, which implies that blood sugar will keep on increasing as the body will try to fight the infection, leading to diabetes.
Dry mouth isn’t a well researched area so it is difficult to determine its definitive causes.
Home Remedies for Dry mouth
To cure dry mouth at home, here are a few remedies.
- Avoid food items with large amounts of sugar, caffeine or artificial sweeteners.
- Drink a lot of water
- Floss after every meal
- Have a diet that consists of fruits and vegetables rich in fiber.
- Scrape excess plaque of your teeth using toothpicks.
- Wash your mouth using alcohol-free mouthwash
- Chew gum.
- Use toothpaste rich in fluoride to brush your teeth, twice a day.
- Consume mints that contain Xylitol (it freshens the breath)
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products.
We need to first identify the cause of dry mouth. If it is caused by blood sugar, managing the blood sugar levels can reduce the symptoms. You must consult your doctor if you think it is being caused by a particular medication.
He/ she can adjust your dosage or prescribe a different medication. One must also regularly visit the dentist. Good dental hygiene can improve oral health, and reduce the symptoms of dry mouth.
To improve dry mouth, you must also focus on lowering blood sugar levels. Here are a few ways to decrease it by adjusting lifestyle habits:
- Consume food items with low-sugar content
- Consume food rich in fiber
- Maintain a diet that is high in healthy fats and proteins
- Follow the medications that are prescribed by your doctor
- Monitor glucose levels regularly
Research is ongoing by scientists to find a solution to diabetes. A 2016 study claimed that symptoms of dry mouth were reduced by an oral moisturising jelly in 118 adults suffering from dry mouth.
These findings are promising and can easily be improved upon.
Oral Hygiene to reduce dry mouth
Good oral hygiene prevents as well as cures dry mouth.
- Brush your teeth regularly- at least twice a day and preferably, after every meal
- Floss at least once, every day, to maintain oral hygiene
- Use a toothpaste made specifically for dry mouth. These toothpastes can be bought over-the-counter or by using prescriptions given by the dentists.
- Use mouthwash that is free of alcohol or peroxide, as they lead to drying of the mouth.
- Use a tongue scraper to remove the accumulated bacteria from the mouth.
- Consult your dentist regarding diabetes and dry mouth.
Nothing in the market can compare to the effects of XyliMelts to alleviate dry mouth. It is a dry mouth product and is very versatile. Use it at night before going to sleep, to wake up with a fresh and moist sensation in your mouth.
XyliMelts can also increase salivation and reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth, thus increasing overall oral health. XyliMelts also helps fight plague and freshens breath.
Complications due to dry mouth
If dry mouth is left untreated, it can lead to issues related to oral health. Saliva is used to break down carbohydrates and also contains cells to fight off pathogens that can cause infections.
But when the body produces less saliva, there can be a build up of glucose and germs in the mouth. This can lead to formation of plaque and hence cause cavities.
Unmanaged dry mouth can over time lead to following complications:
- Gingivitis- Irritated and inflamed gums caused by the presence of bacteria.
- Periodontitis- the tissue that surrounds the teeth gets swollen
- Thrush or candidiasis- growth of excess fungi in the mouth
- Persistent bad breath even after brushing and excessive cleaning.
The salivary glands can also become infected and cause problems with sleeping and affect sense of taste.
Dry mouth is a manageable disease. It is recommended to visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups. Discuss your medications with him/her as some diabetes medicines can have side effects like dry mouth.
People suffering from diabetes can reduce dry mouth symptoms by keeping their glucose levels in check. They must take medication as advised, avoid sugary items and consult the doctor if the problem continues.
If dry mouth isn’t treated, it can lead to serious health issues. Effective dry mouth treatments safeguard good health.