Does Diabetes Cause Dry Mouth?

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Dry mouth or medically called ‘xerostomia’ can refers to a condition which the mouth is abnormally very dry. While many times it is triggered by dehydration, sometime it also can point to a certain health condition. Furthermore, it may also occur when you take certain medicines. How about diabetes – can it cause xerostomia?

How does dry mouth occur?

Anyone can have it, and in fact it is a common problem. But the severity of the problem should be concerned.

While many times it is only a mild problem that usually improves and responds to lifestyle measures (such as drinking plenty of water throughout the day), but sometime it may get worse and cause a major impact on the general health (particularly true if the problem is triggered by certain health condition).

Severe case of dry mouth may cause a significant impact on the health of your teeth as well as your appetite. And if the problem is left untreated, eventually it may also affect your overall health.

Your mouth needs plenty of saliva to keep wet. And in general, dry mouth occurs when there is lack of saliva due to poor functioning of glands that make saliva.

The symptoms of the problem may include:

  1. Dry feeling in the mouth, you can often feel this discomfort or even you may feel it all of the time.
  2. Rough, dry tongue.
  3. Cracked lips or pain in the mouth may also occur.
  4. If the problem gets worse and left untreated, it may cause some serious complications such as problems in chewing and swallowing – or even mouth infection /sores.

Causes of xerostomia

image_illustration164The poor function of glands that produce saliva can be triggered by numerous of different factors. The following are some of them!

  1. As mentioned before, there are some medicines that can cause xerostomia. These include some medicines that are commonly used for anxiety, depression, nerve pain, cancer (such as chemotherapy) – as well as some decongestants, antihistamines, and pain medications.
  2. Age factor! As you age, you tend to take more medicines to cope with your aging and some of these medicines may have an effect in causing dry mouth. Furthermore, you are more likely to have other health problems that also may cause and worsen the problem.
  3. Nerve damage, particularly one that affects your neck and head area.
  4. Trauma that affect salivary glands.
  5. Surgical procedure that removes salivary glands.
  6. Lifestyle and environmental factors, these include chewing tobacco (smoking), excessive consumption of alcohol, or even low humidity may also increase the risk of dry mouth.
  7. Some health problems are linked to xerostomia. These include autoimmune diseases (such as HIV /AIDS and Sjogren’s syndrome), problems of breathing through mouth (such as snoring), dehydration, hypothyroidism (under active thyroid), and rheumatoid arthritis.

How about diabetes – does it also have an effect in causing dry mouth?

The link between diabetes and dry mouth

Diabetes is a condition of when the body cannot control the blood sugar normally. As a result, the blood sugar can increase higher than normal and cause some serious complications if the disease is not controlled as well.

In people with diabetes, their insulin (a special hormone produced in the pancreas) doesn’t work effectively. Insulin is so essential to help control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream.

In type-2 diabetes (the most common type of diabetes), the pancreas still produce insulin, but this is still not enough to control the blood sugar or their insulin works ineffectively. As a result the blood sugar is easier to rise. Even in some people with type-1 diabetes, their pancreas is not longer to make any insulin.

Dry mouth is one of the symptoms that may occur if you have diabetes. The following are other common symptoms:

  1. Excessive fatigue without known reason.
  2. Blurred vision.
  3. Frequent urinations that may also be followed excessive thirst and hunger.
  4. Weight loss with unknown reason.
  5. Tingling /numbness which typically affect your hands & feet.
  6. Wounds on the skin that can last longer than usual or don’t heal without medical intervention.
  7. Other signs may include irritability, nausea, and vomiting.

Now you know that xerostomia can occur due to diabetes. Follow the next page for the explanation of how diabetes affects your mouth which then eventually causes dry mouth!


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