Diabetes, Dry Mouth and Oral Health


What is diabetes?

It is a group of metabolic disorders where there is an increased level of sugar in the blood over a prolonged period. There are three types of diabetes.  

  • Type 1 (insulin-depended diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes) occurs where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to absorb sugar from blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells
  • Type 2 occurs when there is resistance of the body cells to the insulin which is produced by the pancreas.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who did not have history of diabetes prior.

Diabetes should be diagnosed and treated by your medical doctor. Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin injections and Type 2 with medications which may or may not contain insulin.  Also, doctors recommend a healthy diet, regular physical exercise and avoidance of tobacco.

 How does Diabetes cause Dry Mouth?

Diabetics, especially those who are not controlled with medications have an excessive loss of fluids through urination. If we do not have enough water our bodies cannot produce saliva and we experience dry mouth.

There are many other ways in which diabetes affects the oral cavity.

  • Because with diabetes the body cannot defend itself as well, it makes us more susceptible to bacterial, viral and fungal infections (including candidiasis).
  • It is the reason for poor wound healing which leads to longer healing-time for mouth sores, burns, cuts. Also, it takes longer for the tissues and bone to heal after dental procedures.
  • Due to microvascular changes, where blood cannot sufficiently reach the tissues it normally should, gum and supporting bone disease (gingivitis, periodontitis) results.
  • Because diabetes causes dry mouth and increases the presence of sugar in saliva it increases the risk for cavities, tooth infections
  • Diabetic neuropathy which occurs when there are pathologic changes in the nerves in the oro-facial region can cause Burning Mouth Symptoms which can give the sensation of paresthesia, tingling, numbness, burning or pain etc.

What are the ways of treating Dry Mouth?

  • First see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment of underlying medical conditions, including diabetes.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink at least 2 L of water per day. 
  • Use over the counter dry mouth products such ad mouthwash, mouth spray, toothpaste, oral adhesive discs (Xylimelts
  • Ask your doctor about prescription medications such as Pilocarpine or Cevimeline. 
  • Proper diet: avoid Salty, Sticky, Sugary, Salty, Sour foods. Read here about dry mouth and diet
  • Avoid alcohol and alcohol-containing mouthwashes
  • Avoid smoking. 

For more information on Dry Mouth and its management follow the links below: 

Start with the Free Dry Mouth eBook and Dry Mouth Worksheets: 👉👉👉https://aniaglin.clickfunnels.com/lead-magnet4e6r82bjl4d3bmbklwgdltjqymqusdfs

Join the Dry Mouth Community on Facebook: 👉👉👉https://www.facebook.com/groups/1096621073841219/

Video on the “7 Best Dry Mouth Remedies”👉👉👉: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=F3zxlnzrKIM&t=109s

Best Wishes,

Dr. Anna Glinianska

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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