By Louis Venter.
Dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, is a common condition that is often underestimated and is experienced by the majority of the population. A dry mouth happens when the body does not produce sufficient saliva, which serves the purpose of helping the mouth remain clean and eliminating harmful bacteria responsible for triggering cavities and infections. Saliva is also vital in the digestion process, and it neutralizes acids present in the mouth.
Dry mouth causes
Dry mouth has various causes including not taking in adequate liquids throughout the day, sleeping with your mouth exposed and smoking, just to mention a few. Some medications like ADHD, antidepressants, antihistamines, narcotics and sleep inducing medications, can also cause dry mouth. In such cases, the problem, dry mouth, tends to disappear once the principal cause is eliminated. On the other hand, for people having a dry mouth caused by diabetic conditions, it develops into more than a minor irritation.
Dry mouth caused by diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a condition caused by inadequate production of insulin (whose most basic function is to convert glucose into energy), by the body. It mainly occurs in kids and young adults. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is caused by insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas, resulting in the body having a high blood glucose level. This can occur in both children and adults.
Dry mouth and diabetes often happen in the same patients for several reasons. The main reasons are treatment side effects and great blood sugar intensities. A dry mouth aggravates diabetes side effects leading to a surge in sugar levels. As much as a dry mouth is a symptom of high blood sugar levels, it can also be the cause of high glucose levels. A diabetic with a dry mouth can consequently suffer from extensive tooth decay implying that as the body struggles to fight infection and it fails, blood sugar levels in the body increases. Another effect of dry mouth is loss of sleep and a different sense of taste in the mouth that is metallic and sour.
Treatment for dry mouth caused by diabetes
It is evident that having an efficient flow of saliva is important in eliminating the harmful effects of dry mouth. The most important way to enhance this is to increase liquids consumption throughout the day, since the first sign of an impending dry mouth is dehydration. Drinking more water helps fight the main cause, and it leads to production of more saliva and increased balanced levels of moisture in the mouth. It is also a bonus as it helps avert sores in the mouth and sustain general body health.
Increased fluid intake is not a long-term solution, because once the ingested fluids have been processed, the dry mouth returns. You can therefore employ various ways to motivate salivation like; mouthwash, sugar free gums and mints. When this proves to be less effective over time, Oracoat Xylimelts is a product that has brought dry mouth reliefs for both diabetic and cancer patients.
Some of the general ways to treat and reduce dry mouth effects are; to clean teeth after every meal and before bed, to keep blood glucose levels within recommended ranges, using non-alcoholic mouth wash and using lip balm for dry and irritated lips, just to mention a few. If your dry mouth cannot be controlled, a visit to your physician is recommended to diagnose and treat any greater problems that may be causing it or contributing to it.
About the Author
Louis Venter is the creator of diabetescoop.com, a website devoted to providing support and on-topic, frequently updated information for diabetics and those in their support network.