Dry mouth is also referred to as xerostomia and is common in both type 1 diabetes and type 2 as well. How does diabetes cause dry mouth? I’m going to tell you how diabetes causes this condition and what you can do to prevent it and treat it.
Can Dry Mouth Really be Caused by Diabetes?
Diabetes definitely causes cause dry mouth among many other health issues. But this condition is something that you can prevent and treat.
Controlling your diabetes and blood sugars will keep dry mouth in check. I feel that it’s vital to your good health to prevent and treat dry mouth in the best ways that you can.
So to define dry mouth or xerostomia would mean that you simply do not have enough saliva in your mouth. This can actually result in difficulty for you to eat, speak, and even digest food. This can even possibly lead to malnutrition.
And in cases where there is salivary gland dysfunction and extreme dry mouth it can make someone’s life to be intolerable by throat and mouth disorders that are permanent and it can produce substantial amount of anxiety.
Why do You Get Dry Mouth From Diabetes?
Dry mouth can intensify the side effects of type 2 diabetes. This in turn leads up to your glucose levels being increased and this does a number on your body. Dry mouth can be a cause of high blood glucose and also a symptom as well. It can be very uncomfortable and upsetting too.
Having diabetes with dry mouth can lead up to many issues in your mouth. You don’t want or need issues that have to do with your mouth for obvious reasons one being a dental issue among others.
This condition can lead you to the decaying of your teeth and this results in higher blood sugar levels as your body is attempting to fight infection and cannot succeed at doing so. This is especially true if you’re a diabetic. Dry mouth can also change the taste in your mouth and you can experience a metallic taste (I’ve had this and it’s horrible) and it also can interrupt your sleep. We all know just how important it is to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
Neuropathy is another cause of having less saliva being produced in your mouth, therefore causing dry mouth. Diabetic neuropathy affects your peripheral nerves because of the diabetes and the peripheral nervous system controls your internal organs, skin, glands, and muscles. It is separated into the autonomic nervous system and the somatic nervous system.
The peripheral nervous system functions normally and helps to regulate the functions of your body such as digestion, breathing, salivation, sweating, and blinking that is involuntary. When your peripheral nervous system is compromised by diabetes it can be the cause of damage to your salivary glands and this reduces the flow of your saliva. Saliva is important to the health of your mouth otherwise we wouldn’t have it, right?
What are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?
It’s basically what the term implies…dry mouth. There is less saliva in your mouth. These are some symptoms:
- Sores in your mouth
- Pale gums
- Your tongue can be dry and rough
- Your lips are parched, chapped and/or cracked
- Hoarse voice
- Having problems with chewing, swallowing, or speaking
- Being constantly thirsty
- Pain quite often in your mouth
- Bleeding gums
- White tongue
- Dry eyes
- Problems with dentures
- Scarcity of moisture in your mouth
- Dry corners of your mouth
Other Causes of Dry Mouth:
- Tobacco- Smoking or chewing tobacco raises your risk for dry mouth, but it’s just so unhealthy anyway.
- Dehydration- Not having enough fluids especially water causes dehydration and dry mouth.
- Medications- There are unfortunately a lot of drugs on the market that can cause this condition. Some on the list include: decongestants, blood pressure medications, antidiarrheals, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants.
- Aging– The reason it affects folks who get older is because they take more medications and that causes the dry mouth.
- Surgery or injury- These events can possibly cause damage to the nerves of your neck and head which can also result in the condition.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Anxiety disorders
- Diabetes that is inadequately controlled
- Mouth open while sleeping
Check Out the Video for More about Dry Mouth for Diabetics
Prevention of Dry Mouth
1) Avoid these Foods
One of the best things you can do is to avoid salty and spicy foods and even more so if you have pain in your mouth.
2) Stay away from:
Tobacco (as I mentioned before), caffeine, and any beverage or drink that contains alcohol.
Using a humidifier can increase moisture in the air you breathe that can help relieve the conditions of dry mouth.
– Okay, I know. We all hate going to the dentist. Twice a year for cleanings at least helps immensely.
5) Stay Hydrated
It’s imperative to drink a thousand glasses of water everyday. Ok, I exaggerated just a bit. 8-10 eight ounce glasses will do. 🙂
6) Blood Sugars
In order to keep hyperglycemia from causing dry mouth, make sure that you check your blood sugars frequently and maintain a healthy number by exercising, taking any meds, and eating healthy.
7) Oral Hygiene
This is another thing that is extremely important for preventing dry mouth. Taking care of your teeth and gums is imperative! Brushing your teeth and flossing at least twice daily is the rule. There are toothpastes you can purchase for dry mouth but that’s your choice. Ask your dentist.
Treatments and Remedies for Dry Mouth
8) Cayenne Pepper
If you really want to help in stimulating your salivary production cayenne pepper can be one of the best remedies for it. It will stimulate your taste buds so that you are able to better differentiate sweet, bitter, salty, and sour tastes.
You want to be careful to just put a small amount on your finger when it’s wet and rub it along your tongue. It may burn a bit. That’s why I prefer to take the cayenne pepper capsules.
9) Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is an additional remedy that is beneficial for treating dry mouth. It can help cover your mouth with it’s moisture and aids in keeping your mouth that way for some time. The high amount contents of vitamin E are good for healing any possible sores you may have. Just rubbing a little on your tongue and leaving on overnight and then rinsing will do the trick.
10) Fennel Seeds
Chewing fennel seeds a few times each day can help rid you of dry mouth and also aids with bad breath. You can also mix them with fenugreek seeds to be beneficial as well.
11) Aloe Vera
Either rinsing or drinking 1/2 a cup of Aloe Vera juice will help to activate your salivary glands in secreting more saliva and help in curing your dry mouth problem. It won’t hurt you to swab a bit around your mouth with a Q-tip or cotton swab as well.
For another very effective remedy for dry mouth ginger does the trick. It gives you a fresh taste in your mouth and stimulates your salivary glands as well. It’s great for your breath too.
13) Candy or Gum
Let’s make sure we’re on the same page here. It’s sugarless gum and candy! Chewing a piece of sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy will help to activate those salivary glands to release more saliva.
14) Closed Mouth
It’s important to know that you should sleep with your mouth closed. Think about breathing in and out through your nose when falling asleep otherwise dry mouth will set in by morns time. It also benefits you to sleep by breathing in steam.
15) More Fluids
It’s so important to stay hydrated and there are many different ways to do it in addition to drinking water. (which is the best for you) You can have a small apple, watermelon, and pineapple which all contain a lot of water. You can drink vegetable juice or coconut water too. Stay away from caffeinated beverages and anything with sugar. Herbal teas such as green tea are great. I drink diet green tea a lot.
Drinking water, sucking on hard candies, and chewing sugarless gums are great but if you want to try something else, try sucking on a lemon because like the gum and candy the sour taste will release additional saliva.
This can be helpful but also detrimental too. You want to get a mouthwash that doesn’t have alcohol in it. Two such mouthwashes are Closys and Biotin which are excellent for killing germs and they don’t contain alcohol.
If you want a great snack that’s healthy and helps activating saliva and adding more moisture to your mouth, then celery should be your choice.
19) Slippery Elm
This is the inner bark of a tree and it contains a substance that is a slick gel called mucilage. When you mix this with water it can help to soothe and coat your throat and your mouth. It helps to treat dry mouth.
By gargling with salt and warm water for 3-4 times daily you can get your salivary glands to secrete more saliva.
This spice is one of the best remedies for dry mouth and although it works great for stimulating the salivary glands, it doesn’t taste that great. But you can mix it with something else to mask the taste. That makes it more tolerable.
I hope that you learned about how does diabetes cause dry mouth and what you can do about it. There are essentially many ways to prevent it and certainly ways to treat it. Dry mouth is just annoying and not usually serious.