Dry Mouth – Treatment and Prevention
Dry mouth diabetes or Xerostomia is a common health condition, suffered by about 20% population of the world. Having a dry mouth means body is unable to produce enough saliva. Saliva helps the mouth stay clean through removing harmful bacteria that can create cavities and other painful infections. Saliva neutralizes the acid and act as important part of the digestive procedure through providing moisture need for chewing and swallowing food.
Usually, dry mouth is initiated by different types of anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria easily adhere to the tooth enamel, back of the throat and tongue where oxygen is absent or negligible. High amount of acids are produced by these bacteria and lead to accelerate the rates of dental decay and gum disease.
Research shows that, dry mouth associated with parotid gland enlargement affects about 25% of patients suffering from severe or moderate Type I or Type II diabetes. Dry mouth patients have difficulty with all aspects of eating and swallowing. Taste disorders, a painful tongue and excessive thirst also associated with dry mouth diabetes.
Many chronic diseases like periodontal disease are found in the majority of patients suffering from dry mouth diabetes. In fact, in this health condition a small amount of saliva secreted by parotid gland which is excessively rich in unabsorbed glucose and further affects the gums, teeth and overall oral health.
A common reason of dry mouth is consistent high blood sugar levels. Other some important causes are:
- Neuropathy (autonomic)
- Lack of hydration
- Kidney dialysis
- Mouth breathing
- Sleeping with open mouth
- Side effects of some medication such as ADHD medicine, antidepressants, anti-histamines, narcotics and sleep medications.
A confirm sign of dry mouth is a lack of moisture in mouth. Some other signs may be associate with dry mouth are –
- Gingivitis (Inflammation of the gums)
- Irritation at the mouth usually at the corners
- Loss of moisture
- Glistening of the oral mucosa
- Dryness of the oral membranes
- Cheilitis (Irritated corners of the mouth)
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- Mouth sores
- Thrush (Yeast infections) on the tongue, palate and cheeks
- Dental cavities
The aim of the treatment of dry mouth is provide comfort and relief to the patients. The treatment can be divided into three categories such as a) Saliva substitution, b) Saliva stimulation and c) Prevention of caries & yeast infection.
a) Saliva substitution: There are some home remedies which help in saliva substitution in dry mouth. Such as, drinking sufficient water throughout the day, restrict caffeine intake, keep ice melt in the mouth are helpful for remain mouth moist as possible. Patients also should use a mouthwash which doesn’t contain alcohol. Use Vaseline or lip balm is also may be a helpful remedy.
b) Saliva Stimulation: Chewing gum can help the patients to stimulate salivary flow. In dry mouth sugar free lemon drops can be helpful. Some medications also help increase salivary flow such as cevimeline (Evoxac) and pilocarpine (Salagaen). But glaucoma and asthma patients should avoid these drugs.
c) Prevention of Caries & Yeast infection: Periodontal diseases, Gingivitis, Cavities and fungal infection are most common complications of dry mouth. Proper oral care and hygiene is essential to prevent these complications. Dry mouth patients should take a low- sugar diet and daily use fluoride treatments and antimicrobial drug. If fungal infections develop such as thrush, they may require topical antifungal treatment. Regular Consultation with the dentist is necessary to manage these complications.
Tips to Prevent Dry Mouth Caused by Diabetes:
The ways that can prevent dry mouth diabetes are keep glucose levels control by eating right foods, maintaining a healthy weight, regularly monitoring insulin levels and taking medication if necessary. To prevent dry mouth you should also performing the following activities each day.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a containing fluoride toothpaste. You should use this toothpaste, specially design for people having dry mouth. Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste – Gentle Mint Gel
- Floss your mouth after every meal. For recommended floss click here.
- Use mouthwash that does not contain saccharin, alcohol or foaming detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate. We recommend: Biotene Oral Rinse for Dry Mouth Symptoms
- Drink plenty of water daily
- Eat more vegetables and fruit daily
- Avoid sugary beverages
- Avoid over salty foods
- Scrap the tongue with a specialist tongue scraper. We recommend this best selling scraper (over thousand positive reviews can’t be wrong): Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner, Stainless Steel
- Chew a chewing gum as a breath freshener
- Brush your teeth after each meal and before go to bed
- Use lip balm if you have irritated or dry lips. Use this organic lip balm: Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Soothing Lip Balm
- Try to keep your blood sugars level within the recommended range. Our recommended glucose monitors.