Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks
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In those with type 2 diabetes, a person’s blood glucose levels can become too high. This in turn can affect a number of body parts with dehydration being a common symptom. There is another major mouth symptom to be aware of indicating your blood sugar levels are too high.
Anyone can have dry mouth, but it tends to affect people with diabetes because high blood sugar decreases saliva flow.
Too little saliva in the mouth is a precursor for tooth decay and gum disease.
Oddly enough, dry mouth may continue even after a diabetes diagnosis.
Excessive thirst, or polydipsia, is a symptom of type 2 diabetes.
After all, with increased urination, dehydration can result, according to Mayo Clinic.
An obvious symptom of dry mouth is having a lack of moisture in your mouth.
Other symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Irritation at the corners of the mouth
- Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
- Oral thrush (yeast or fungal infections on the tongue and cheeks, sometimes following a course of antibiotics).
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In a study published in Plos One, salivary flow and xerostomia in older patients with type 2 diabetes was analysed.
The cross-sectional clinical study was conducted with older patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for at least one year receiving treatment.
Oral clinical examination was carried out to assess the decayed, missing and filled teeth index (DMFT).
Perception of the presence of xerostomia/dry mouth was assessed using the Visual Analogue Scale.
Stimulated salivary flow was measured and samples were obtained using an extra-soft silicone device.
The study found that 92 percent of participants presented a decrease in salivary flow while 49 percent reported moderate to severe dry mouth.
“Reduced salivary flow was found in the group assessed in the present research; however, this finding is not in accordance with the perception of xerostomia/dry mouth reported by the patients,” concluded the study.
According to Diabetes UK, ways to treat and reduce the effect of dry mouth caused by type 2 diabetes includes:
- Keep your blood sugars within the recommended range
- Brush braces or dentures after each meal – if relevant
- Keep yourself hydrated and carry water with you
- Use a non-alcoholic gel or mouthwash
- Using lip balm is recommended if you have dry or irritated lips (particularly at the corners).
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