By Lucy Wyndham
463 million people in the world have diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Foundation, and diabetes is known to raise the risk of certain dental health issues, including dry mouth. Dry mouth is much more than an annoyance that may make it a little difficult to speak sometimes. It’s a problem that raises the risk of tooth decay and makes it easier for fungal infections to develop. When people with diabetes learn how to manage dry mouth symptoms, they’ll be doing something good for their dental health and general health. Fortunately, there are effective ways to ease or eliminate dry mouth.
Why do some diabetics have dry mouth problems?
Dry mouth is also known as xerostomia, and it’s believed that diabetics are prone to dry mouth due to high blood glucose levels. Another issue is the fact diabetics produce less saliva than most non-diabetics, according to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology. Dry mouth issues may affect people with both forms of diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2). While all people with diabetes don’t develop dry mouth problems, they are not uncommon, either.
What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
If you’re having dry mouth problems, which are common in diabetics, but not exclusive to diabetics, you may notice that your mouth feels sticky. You might also have bad breath, whether you’re aware of it or not. Mouth sores, cracked lips (especially at the corners) and dry throat may also occur. Additionally, speaking may be difficult. Some people with dry mouth have excessive thirst. Other symptoms to watch for include sore throat, a hoarse speaking voice, and dry, inflamed tongues. You may have some of these symptoms or most of them, as everyone is different.
How is this dental problem treated?
Diabetics are used to accessing treatments that maintain or improve their health. For instance, people with diabetes might wear compression socks that ease health problems, such as swelling and discomfort from deep vein thrombosis, and many take pills or insulin injections to regulate their blood levels. Many also follow special diets that help them to stay well. When it comes to dry mouth, treatment options are also available. Drinking plenty of pure water should be very helpful. You may also want to use sugar-free mouthwashes, mints, and gums in order to stimulate the production of saliva. Avoid alcohol, tobacco products, and caffeine, as all may make dry mouth problems worse. As you can see, some simple lifestyle changes are usually enough to minimize or eliminate the problem.
Proper dental care and medical care will help, too
Seeing your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleaning will be essential. Some dental patients need even more attention from dentists. Another smart tip is to talk to your doctor about any medications that you are taking. Some medications prescribed to diabetics may trigger side effects, including dry mouth. It is possible that your doctor can adjust your medication in order to try and ease this symptom.
Now that you know more about dry mouth and diabetes, you’ll be ready to tackle the problem. The more than you do to alleviate dry mouth, the better. Effective dry mouth treatments help to safeguard good health.