All About Dry Mouth in Diabetics

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 14, 2013

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Quick Bites

  • Some people with diabetes complain of dry mouth.
  • This may be caused by medicines you take.
  • You may notice a dry mouth if your blood sugar levels are high.
  • A dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities.

Dry mouth is one of the most common oral health related issue. It is a condition that describes lack of moisture in the mouth, which can be brought on by diabetes, which is also called altered salivary flow (xerostomia). Mouth is the first part of digestive process as the teeth and muscles in the mouth help in chewing the food into smaller pieces to make the food item digestible in the stomach and intestine.

Some people with diabetes complain of dry mouth. This may be caused by medicines you take. You may notice a dry mouth if your blood sugar levels are high. A dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities, because there's less saliva to wash away germs and take care of the acids they create. Dry mouth can sometimes lead to other problems, such as salivary gland infections.

Dry Mouth in Diabetes

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

  • A lack of moisture in the mouth
  • Irritation or dryness at the corners of the mouth
  • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
  • Yeast infections on the tongue, cheeks and palate


Causes of Dry Mouth

  • High blood sugar level
  • Not keeping yourself hydrated well enough
  • Smoking
  • Side effect of a particular medication.

Usually, dry mouth occurs due to side effects of some medications that are used to treat hypertension or other heart issues and manage complications of diabetes. Some other drugs that cause this condition are those used to cure depression, allergies, diuretics, anti-psychotics, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory medications. Not just medications, even caffeinated beverages also cause dry mouth.

How to Avoid Having Dry Mouth when You Have Diabetes

The best way to avoid dry mouth in diabetes is to drink plenty of water while taking these medications, as well as for general health care. A diabetic patient should see their dentist for an oral examination in every six months as a precautionary measure. Optimal oral health will improve diabetes control and quality of life. Follow these below mentioned ways to prevent dry mouth:

Dry Mouth

  • Always perform oral hygiene four times a day, especially after taking a meal and before bedtime.
  • Wash your mouth immediately after taking meals.
  • Choose toothpaste that has fluoride in its content. There are some toothpastes available in the market that are specifically formulated for dry mouth.
  • Drink plenty of water to moisten your mouth.
  • Say no to liquids and foods with high sugar content, also avoid overly salty foods.
  • Limit citrus juices (orange, grapefruit, tomato), as well as diet sodas.
  • Avoid mouth wash that contains alcohol.
  • Use a lip balm or moisturizer regularly.

Keeping your teeth and mouth healthy requires a team effort. You're the most important person on this team to do the day-to-day mouth care. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your dentist. Remember, good dental health can create a healthy mouth and a smile that will last a lifetime.

Images: Getty

Read more articles on Understand Diabetes.

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