Dry Mouth and Diabetes

Having a dry mouth can be unpleasant
Having a dry mouth can be unpleasant

Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is the term used to describe a lack of moisture in the mouth, which can be brought on by diabetes and its symptoms.

As well as feeling unpleasant, a dry mouth can also promote a breeding ground for bacteria in the mouth.

It is important to minimise the chance of oral or dental infection. An infection lead to increased blood glucose levels while your body tries to fight the infection.

Saliva helps to control levels of bacteria as well as neutralizing and washing away acid around teeth and gums.

Symptoms of dry mouth

An obvious sign of dry mouth is having a lack of moisture in your mouth.

Other symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Irritation at the corners of the mouth
  • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
  • Yeast infections (thrush) on the tongue and cheeks

Causes of dry mouth

A common reason people with diabetes experience dry mouth is having consistently high blood sugar levels.

Other causes include not keeping yourself hydrated, smoking or a side effect of a particular medication.

Ways to treat and reduce the effect of dry mouth

  • Clean your teeth after each meal and before bed
  • Brush braces or dentures after each meal – if relevant
  • Keep yourself hydrated and carry water with you
  • Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash
  • Use lip balm is recommended if you have dry or irritated lips (particularly at the corners)
  • Keep your blood sugars within the recommended range
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