The mouth is the first part of the digestive process. It is amazing how we take it for granted. Most of us are not aware that the health of our mouth affects our diabetes control, and that our diabetes control affects our oral health.
Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Saliva is required for comfort, health and speech. The commonest oral health problem for diabetics is dry mouth or altered salivary flow. The muscles in the face, jaw and mouth chew the food into smaller bits. This helps to digest the food in the stomach and intestines. Saliva also prevents infection by keeping bacteria under control. It cleanses the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by dental plaque. It washes away the dead skin cells that gather on the cheeks, tongue and gums.
A dry mouth could be one of the signs of diabetes type 1. The most common reasons for a dry mouth in a diabetes patient are side effects of medication, lack of hydration, kidney dialysis, hyperglycemia, mouth breathing and smoking.
The diabetic patient with dry mouth is required to develop a routine for maximum oral health. The goal could be attained with the following tips.
- Rinse and wipe the mouth after meals.
- Brush your teeth four times a day after meals and before bedtime.
- Use toothpastes designed for a dry mouth especially with fluoride.
- Brush and clean dental appliances such as bridges and dentures.
- Avoid foods with high sugar content.
- Lessen over-salty foodstuffs.
The ill effects of a dry mouth can be encountered and treated in a simple manner.
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