People with diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, will often experience dry mouth or xerostomy. The problem is, it’s not just a feeling. It can have serious consequences for the mouth.
Xerostomy is associated with an increased risk of cavities, infections and periodontal disease. Various studies confirm that more than 70% of people with diabetes experience dry mouth. In this article we will explain why it happens and how to solve it.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that affects the conversion of glucose. There are therefore two primary forms: Type 1 and Type 2. In the case of type 1 diabetes, what happens is that the pancreas is unable to secrete insulin.
On the other hand, with type 2, there is a resistance to insulin in the various tissues of the body. However, there may also be a reduction in the excretion of it. It is a disorder which, unfortunately, is becoming more and more frequent.
Xerostomy is one of the primary symptoms of diabetes. It is so much that, according to a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Nutrition, it is among the most frequent manifestations in the mouth in people with diabetes.
Other oral symptoms that may appear are sores, fungus in the throat and a burning sensation. These are not the only signs. There is also polyuria (increased urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and weight changes.
Blood sugar levels are crucial for the symptoms of diabetes.
Why can people with diabetes experience dry mouth?
Xerostomy, as we mentioned, is the term that refers to dry mouth. In people with diabetes, the incidence of it has to do with various factors, almost all of which are related to poor control of blood sugar levels.
First, one of its causes is increased urination. Increased urination leads to dehydration. And since saliva mostly consists of water, the production of it is changed when the body fluid is not maintained.
Another similar factor that determines dry mouth in diabetes is a change in the composition of saliva. In addition to water, saliva also contains glucose and protein.
A study published in the Journal of Oral Medicine and Pathology explains that diabetes affects the morphology of salivary glands. It causes salivary glands to increase in size. This causes their function to be impaired.
Other causes of xerostomy
Although a large percentage of people with diabetes will experience dry mouth, this disease is not the only cause. It is important to note that many factors affect the production of saliva, and many situations can lead to xerostomia.
For example, there is dehydration that is not related to diabetes. Medications can also lead to this symptom, especially those used in chemotherapy treatments.
Older age is also often a factor, as well as other chronic diseases such as cirrhosis, HIV and tuberculosis. Sjögren’s syndrome is another of the most relevant causes of xerostomy.
Solutions for dry mouth in people with diabetes
The importance of dry mouth in diabetes lies not only in the discomfort it causes but also in the range of oral problems that it can cause. For example, it increases the risk of cavities and infections as well as periodontal disease.
It is therefore essential to take preventive measures that avoid and prevent this type of disorder. First, people with diabetes should improve their oral hygiene by using mouthwash and dental floss in addition to brushing their teeth.
In addition, it is best to avoid sugary and acidic beverages. Of course, it is essential to stay hydrated, but it is best to do so by drinking water. Frequent visits to the dentist are also necessary, as professionals need to check and correct any changes as soon as possible.
In some cases, doctors also prescribe medication that stimulates the flow of saliva. They can even use artificial saliva. These measures are, of course, reserved for cases where general measures fail to solve the problem of xerostomia.
Things to keep in mind when it comes to experiencing dry mouth
People with diabetes are more susceptible to experiencing dry mouth. This is because the disease alters both the composition of saliva and the morphology of the salivary glands.
To avoid this , it is necessary to maintain proper control of blood sugar levels. In addition, proper hydration and special care of oral hygiene are essential needs to be able to reduce the complications.