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Though one of the most ignored part of our daily hygiene routine, oral health is of utmost importance, and diabetes may affect oral health by causing dry mouth. Here's why, and what you can do to treat it.

Causes

Dry mouth may be a warning sign of diabetes, but is not the only symptom that indicates this condition. It is, however, common in those suffering from type 1 diabetes. Why does dry mouth occur as a result of diabetes? It may be due to any of the following reasons:
  • Side Effect of Medication: Dry mouth may be caused as a side effect of medication that is being consumed to keep the diabetes in control. Also, several patients take medicines to keep a control on their blood pressure and to prevent heart disease that may be triggered by diabetes. These are also known to cause dry mouth in patients.
  • Dehydration: Diabetics are prone to dehydration, and one of the effects of this is dryness of the mouth.
  • Kidney Problems: Even kidney problems may be a result of diabetes, thereby throwing the level of hydration in the body off balance. Dry mouth can then be an effect of this condition.
  • Persistently High Blood Sugar Levels: High blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia also tend to affect the body in many ways, one of them being dry mouth.
Symptoms

Though the condition itself is a sign or a symptom, there are other signs that are associated with dry mouth caused due to diabetes.
  • Increasing Number of Cavities: A person experiencing a dry mouth due to diabetes may discover the increasing presence of dental cavities in places least susceptible to them.
  • Irritation on Corners of the Mouth: The corners or the edges of the mouth may become dry, and begin to appear slightly white, causing irritation. This condition is known as Cheilitis.
  • Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums or gingivitis is another symptom associated with this condition that occurs as a result of diabetes.
  • Yeast Infection: Persons suffering from diabetes may develop a yeast infection on the tongue.
  • Mouth Sores: Mouth sores are another sign of dry mouth and thus, diabetes.
Treatment

This condition is fortunately treatable, with some of the following tips mentioned below.
  • Use Toothpastes that Contain Fluoride: There are some toothpastes that have been made especially to treat dry mouth. Try to get hold of one of these. If you aren't able to do so, you should always use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Consume Food Low in Salt and Sugar: Avoid eating foods that are rich in sugar, as well as in salt. The sugars make the mouth more susceptible to cavities, while the salt results in dehydration. Also stay away from citrus juices.
  • Drink Lots of Water: Keep drinking water often to prevent your mouth from going dry.
  • Clean After Every Meal: After every meal, ensure that you wash and rinse your mouth thoroughly. Even before sleeping, ensure that you have brushed well.
  • Clean Dentures/Braces (If Wearing) Thoroughly: If you wear dentures, remove them and brush them thoroughly after every meal. If you wear braces, ensure that you thoroughly clean your mouth after every meal.
  • Use Mouthwash without Alcohol: Do not use a mouthwash with alcohol as a treatment for dry mouth due to diabetes.
  • Keep your Lips Moisturized: Doing so with the use of a non-flavored lip balm will help prevent the irritation at the corners of the mouth.
  • Use a Saliva Substitute: In extreme cases, you may use a substitute for saliva, such as a gel. This is a temporary solution to the problem of dry mouth. Use this only after consulting with your doctor.
Do not conclude that you have diabetes only due to this symptom. If you are doubtful, consult a physician, who will be able to diagnose the exact cause for your condition. Until then, follow this routine treatment method for dry mouth and keep this problem at bay.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.