Question

Diabetes and Oral Health

What is dry mouth with diabetes?

A Answers (2)

  • ADe Vizio, DMD, Dentist, answered on behalf of Colgate

    Dry mouth (xerostomia) is often associated with diabetes mellitus. There are other reasons for dry mouth such as taking antihistamines or other medications. A dry mouth, means you have a decrease in saliva. Saliva is important for chewing, swallowing and washing particles of food and bacteria off the teeth and gums.  Food particles, sugars and bacteria that stay in the mouth can lead to decay. Decay is a common problem in people who have dry mouth with diabetes. While there is no real treatment of dry mouth, you should make sure to rinse your mouth regularly and brush your teeth after eating. Also, chewing sugar free gum and using oral rinses may help alleviate dry mouth.

  • Dry mouth—also called xerostomia—results from an inadequate flow of saliva. For people with diabetes, this can be a problem. Dry mouth can also be an early warning sign for gum disease or be the result of certain types of medications. If you experience this problem, discuss with your dentist, who can help in determining the cause and potential treatment options.

    As saliva is the mouth’s primary defense against tooth decay and maintains the health of the soft and hard tissues in the mouth, this is especially important for people with diabetes because of being at greater risk for oral health problems. Saliva washes away food and other debris, neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth, offering first-line protection against microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.
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