Link Between Dry Mouth and Diabetes

Xerostomia or dry mouth is a common condition being faced by approximately 20% of the population today. The condition of dry mouth signifies the lack of saliva production in the mouth which can lead to various mouth infections most probably concealing an incurable conditions like diabetes. Let us understand the possible link between dry mouth and diabetes in detail.

Actually saliva created in the mouth, helps in getting rid of the harmful bacteria that rests on the tongue which perhaps could have caused many casualties. When the body produces less saliva, it leads to a dry mouth and there are high chances of diabetes. Here in this article we list out causes which establish a link between dry mouth and diabetes.

Link Between Dry Mouth and Diabetes

Link Between Dry Mouth and Diabetes

A dry mouth condition exacerbates the underlying side effects of diabetes which leads to increase in the sugar levels in the body. It`s common symptom of both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Increased glucose levels, creates havoc in the body which if not brought down, can be detrimental to major organs of the body like heart, liver, kidney etc. Not always is a dry mouth cause of diabetes; in certain cases it can be seen as a symptom of it also. However, in most cases, it is seen that there exists some link between dry mouth and diabetes. Understanding the connection is important to plan proper treatment and take preventive action.

Being a diabetic, a dry mouth condition can possibly lead to tooth decay and damage of the gums, since the saliva which fought the germs in the mouth isn’t produced now. Also a dry mouth can alter the taste of the mouth, create sour taste and also alter the sleep levels of an individual.

Since dry mouth arises, due to reduced salivary production in the mouth, the possible symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • A rough and dry tongue
  • Mouth lacking moisture
  • Pain in jaws
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Soreness in mouth
  • Oral cavity infection

An untreated dry mouth condition can lead to various oral health issues. Some of the common complications of dry mouth must also be considered. Saliva in the mouth breaks carbohydrates and contain cells that fight off the pathogen which leads to infection. When the body produces less saliva, glucose and harmful germs build up in mouth. This in turn leads to building up of plague which may also lead to cavities.

Therefore, an unmanaged and untreated dry mouth condition can lead to many other complications like:

  • Gingivitis or inflammation and irritation of gums due to less production of saliva in mouth
  • Periodontitis or the inflammation around the tissue surrounding the teeth
  • Thrush or candidiasis which leads to growth of increased fungus in the mouth
  • Intense bad breath which persists even after brushing teeth multiple times
  • Infection of salivary glands in some cases.

A dry mouth condition is caused by many things, but smoking definitely is in the list. Tar and nicotine of the cigarettes stick to the gums, cheeks and on the tongue. Long term smoking affects the saliva production rate in the mouth which leads to dry mouth. This has also been confirmed by a research which concluded that in the long run, smoking will only reduce the saliva production in the mouth leading to dry mouth or xerostomia. Also, as there is a possible link between dry mouth and diabetes, smoking in diabetics can be even more troublesome. Moreover, smoking is harmful to diabetics since it severely alters the glucose levels in the body.

Treatment for Dry Mouth Linked With Diabetes

Following the harmful effects of dry mouth, it is very important to keep the saliva moving efficiently in the mouth. One of the best ways to do is to increase the intake of liquids in the body. Since dry mouth is also a result of dehydration, it is very important to keep the body well hydrated. Drink plenty of water a day which will replenish the lost liquids from the body. Drinking lots of water would possibly enhance the saliva production in the mouth that would combat the harmful bacteria. It also balances the level of moisture in the mouth. Additionally, increased amount of water intake in the body can also prevent oral sores, chapped lips and improve overall oral health.

Although diabetics have a good success ratio of fighting dry mouth condition by increasing liquid intake in the body, however, it`s not a long term perfect solution for this condition. For effective treatment of dry mouth, diagnosis of the diabetes and controlling the blood sugar glucose levels in the body is essential. Treating the underlying cause is the best treatment and as there is a link between dry mouth and diabetes, managing diabetes is essential.

Home Remedies for Dry Mouth

Few of the home remedies which you can personally follow to lessen dry mouth are:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Avoid consumption of food with high sugar content, artificial sweeteners or caffeine.
  • Consume more green vegetables and food rich in fiber
  • Inculcate the habit of brushing at least twice a day
  • Floss after every meal
  • After eating food, scrape off the plaque on the surface of tooth by rinsing with anti-bacterial mouthwash.
  • Use an alcohol free mouthwash
  • Chew gum
  • Visit a dentist at least once in a month

While there are many chances of a link between dry mouth and diabetes, there are other causes of dry mouth too. Sometimes, a dry mouth also is because of other medical conditions like dehydration in the body, dialysis of kidney, and breathing through mouth. However, it may be considered as a risk factor for diabetics and taking the necessary prevention can help. Controlling blood sugar levels, drinking plenty of fluids, maintaining oral hygiene and going for regular medical and dental check-ups can be planned appropriately.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 23, 2022

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