Diabetic? Be Aware Of Dental Issues Related To Dry Mouth

Posted on: 5 May 2017

Diabetes affects your body in so many ways. Most people are aware of the increased risk of kidney failure and eye disorders that comes with the disease. One problem you may not be as aware of is the mouth dryness that can arise from diabetes. Here's a closer look at this oral health issue, the problems it can cause, and how to manage it.

What causes the mouth dryness?

Especially when your blood sugar is not well controlled, your body ends up eliminating extra sugars through your urine. This increased urine production often leaves you a bit dehydrated. Your saliva production decreases, and your mouth starts feeling dry. Sustained high blood sugar can also cause permanent damage to your salivary glands, making them less productive for the remainder of your life.

Why is dry mouth a problem?

Dry mouth is certainly annoying. It can make it harder for you to enjoy dry foods like crackers and pretzels. However, beyond this annoyance, there is the risk of certain dental conditions that are perpetuated by oral bacteria. When your mouth is dry, the bacteria linger for a lot longer on your teeth and gums. They keep reproducing and increasing in number. As a result, you may start showing signs of gum disease -- like red and swollen gums. You may also develop some cavities and tooth decay.

How can you fight against dry mouth?

As a diabetic, the number one thing you can do to try and minimize dry mouth symptoms is keep your blood sugar under control. Follow the diet recommended by your doctor, and if you have been prescribed insulin, be sure to use it as prescribed. Check your blood sugar often, and if you are frequently getting high readings, talk to your doctor; they may need to amend your treatment plan.

Sipping water throughout the day will also help keep your mouth moist. Some patients find that chewing sugar-free gum keeps their mouth moist as it can increase saliva production.

If you do start noticing signs of tooth decay or gum disease, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. He or she will make sure the problem is treated before it leads to more serious ailments like lost or loose teeth.

All patients should see the dentist regularly for checkups, but as a diabetic, these appointments are even more important for you to keep. Be sure to tell your dentist about your diabetes so they can keep a close eye out for any related issues.