According to the American Diabetes Association, over 10% of Americans have some form of diabetes. If this describes you, you may be wondering, “How do I get rid of diabetes dry mouth?” We’re here to cover what causes dry mouth, how it’s connected to diabetes, and share some top tips to provide relief.
Dry Mouth and Diabetes: Four Tips for Prevention
Diabetes and Dry Mouth
Maintaining proper oral care is a vital part of your dental and overall health. This is especially true if you have diabetes, as you’re more prone to gum problems and dry mouth. Fortunately, your experience managing diabetes should set you up for success by helping you understand the importance of a routine.
You’re more likely to experience dry mouth if you have diabetes for two reasons:
- Frequent urination may leave you dehydrated.
- Medications can affect the production of saliva by your salivary glands.
Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) occurs when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. In addition to discomfort, this can lead to other dental problems, so it’s vital to take steps to address or prevent it.
1) Water and Sugar-free Products
A method for confronting dry mouth that’s as simple as it is effective is to help moisten your mouth with water and sugar-free food items.
The benefit of drinking water when your mouth is dry is straightforward: it not only prevents dehydration, but also helps perform some of the saliva's functions by washing away food particles and balancing the acidity in your mouth.
But how do sugar-free products help? Sugar-free gum, candy and other items help stimulate the production of saliva through chewing. Next time you feel uncomfortable dryness in your mouth, try some sugar-free gum and see if you notice a difference.
Helpful tip: In addition to being safer for your teeth, sugar-free products are also safer to eat with diabetes, as they will have less of an effect on your blood glucose levels.
2) Use a Humidifier
If you experience dry mouth at night, a humidifier might be the solution you’ve been searching for (though they’re great at all times!). These helpful devices put water into the air, helping relieve some of the symptoms and discomfort associated with dry mouth.
If you use a humidifier, especially in a small room like an office or bedroom, you may find that your comfort has made a complete turnaround for the better.
Helpful tip: Be sure to keep a glass of water by your bed or workspace for additional relief!
3) Manage Your Diabetes
The system regulating your hormones can be complicated, but your diet's effect on dry mouth is easy to understand.
When you consume a food item or beverage, your body responds by raising your blood glucose levels. If your blood sugar is out of a healthy range (uncontrolled), you may experience frequent urination. This can lead to dehydration, which can cause dry mouth.
The important thing to take away is that proper control of your diabetes, especially through a balanced and healthy diet, can directly affect your dry mouth. A diet that emphasises nutrient-heavy foods while going light on fat, calories and refined sugars is ideal for people with diabetes.
Helpful tip: If you’re having trouble managing your diabetes or related symptoms, speak to your medical professional or registered dietitian for expert advice to improve your daily habits.
4) Regular Dental Visits
If left untreated, dry mouth can increase your risk of developing other dental problems. This is doubly true for people with diabetes, as they can help you prevent issues like gum problems, dental cavities and dry mouth, and spot warning signs before they worsen.
While it can be stressful for some to visit a dental professional, they are a vital asset in your fight against oral health problems. They can make suggestions to help manage your dry mouth and ensure you're taking the necessary steps to avoid the problems arising from a chronic lack of saliva.
These four tips are great steps to help confront discomfort and other symptoms of your dry mouth, but don’t be afraid to use more than one approach for the best results. Remember that treating dry mouth doesn’t address the underlying causes, so it’s a good idea to check in with your dental professional if you’re having trouble managing your symptoms. You’re now set up for success to relieve your dry mouth and avoid the associated dental problems.