Diabetes and Dry Mouth (2023)


Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be an uncomfortable side effect of diabetes that can lead to complications such as gingivitis over the long term if left untreated. Since saliva protects your teeth (helping to prevent decay) and also improves digestion and the ability to taste food, it’s essential to get it treated.

Sometimes dry mouth is a symptom of undiagnosed or improperly treated diabetes. Knowing the symptoms, causes, and treatments of dry mouth can help you address the issue with your healthcare provider for the best outcome.

Diabetes and Dry Mouth (1)

Dry Mouth Symptoms

Dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth do not make enough saliva. The lack of saliva leaves your mouth feeling uncomfortably dry. Symptoms include:

  • Bad breath
  • Burning feeling in the mouth
  • Difficulties with eating, chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Mouth feels dry nearly all the time
  • Painful mouth
  • Sores or infections in the mouth
  • Tongue is rough and feels dry

High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is common in people with diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2) that isn't well managed. High glucose levels can cause the symptom of dry mouth, although healthcare providers aren’t quite sure why.

Other oral symptoms of high blood sugar are:

  • Thrush, an overgrowth of yeast
  • Increased thirst

Fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches may also occur.

Remedy

If you have high blood sugar that isn’t being well controlled, your healthcare provider will be able to help you come up with a plan for better eating habits and medication should you need it.

The fluids lost from high blood sugar can make you very thirsty, so be sure to drink plenty of water. It’s best to avoid foods and drinks with a lot of sugar content, like:

  • Sodas
  • Juices
  • Candy
  • Other desserts

High Blood Sugar Warning

If your blood sugar goes above 180 to 200 mg/dL, it can cause kidney, heart, vision, and nerve damage. If left untreated, coma and death are risks.

Dehydration

Not getting enough fluids can cause dry mouth from dehydration. Liquids are necessary for your mouth to produce enough saliva.

Diabetes insipidus—a less common form of diabetes in which the kidneys have a difficult time preventing water excretion—can cause constant thirst and dehydration.

Similarly, diabetes mellitus can cause constant thirst and an increased need to urinate, which leads to dehydration and dry mouth.

Remedy

Dry mouth due to dehydration for people with diabetes can often be controlled with medications. Drinking enough water to match the water loss through urination is also essential.

(Video) What Can Diabetics Do About Dry Mouth?

Kidney Problems

Diabetes insipidus causes the kidneys to be unable to concentrate urine effectively and to excrete a large amount of dilute urine.

With types 1 and 2 diabetes, blood sugar can build up and cause problems for your kidneys while they work hard to manage the excess blood glucose. When this happens, water is pulled from your other bodily tissues, causing you to feel thirsty.

You may also:

  • Have to pee more often
  • Feel hungry
  • Experience headaches

Remedy

Managing your condition with medications and being sure to drink enough water is essential.

Schedule Your Kidney Check

If you are overdue for a kidney check (24-hour urine), schedule an appointment/call your healthcare provider about getting a collection jug and set aside a day to do it. Consider asking for a referral to a nephrologist.

Medications

Certain medications used for diabetes can cause dry mouth, including Metformin. ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, which are used to treat hypertension and diabetes, can cause dry mouth.

Remedy

You may be able to switch your medications if they cause you dry mouth. Speak to your healthcare provider about this option.

Always consult with your healthcare provider before stopping any medication.

Dietary Ketosis

Dietary ketosis is not the same as diabetic ketoacidosis but is intentional ketosis caused by following the keto diet. Dry mouth is a common side effect of this diet.

The keto diet is also a popular choice for those with type 2 diabetes. The dry mouth with dietary ketosis is due to dehydration from water loss. Water loss happens when glycogen is being excreted from the blood due to a lack of carbohydrates.

Remedy

Ending your keto diet can help prevent dry mouth, but for those who do not wish to change their diet, focusing on eating foods that are keto-friendly and contain a lot of water is a good strategy. Try fruits and vegetables like:

  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Avocado
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Berries

Kidney Disease and the Keto Diet

People with kidney disease have an increased risk of needing dialysis if practicing the keto diet since the additional ketones that their renal system has to process cause the kidneys to become overworked. Speak to your healthcare provider before changing your diet.

(Video) Dry Mouth - Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

If your body’s cells do not get enough glucose needed for energy, the body will use ketones instead. When this happens, ketones can build up in the blood and make it more acidic.

For people with diabetes, this can mean that your illness is not being well controlled, and you could get very sick. This condition most often occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, although it can happen in those with type 2.

Remedy

You should check your urine for ketones when your blood glucose is more than 240 mg/dl. Do not exercise if your urine shows ketones and your blood glucose is high. Contact your healthcare provider for advice.

Warning Signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis can become life-threatening. Early signs include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Trouble concentrating

If you experience these symptoms, call your healthcare provider. Once vomiting occurs, a life-threatening condition can develop quickly. Call emergency services immediately.

Treatments for Dry Mouth

Dry mouth due to diabetes or other causes can be treated with some other remedies as well. Try the following tips:

  • Avoid salty or sugary drinks and foods.
  • Sip water throughout the day and with meals.
  • Avoid caffeine, which can dry out your mouth.
  • Increase saliva by chewing gum or sucking on hard candies that do not contain sugar. Try those with xylitol, which can further prevent cavities.
  • Do not use tobacco, and limit alcohol; both can cause dry mouth.
  • Place a dehumidifier in your room at night or in your home or office during the day.
  • Take any medications prescribed by your healthcare provider or dentist that help to keep your mouth moist.
  • Be sure to practice proper dental hygiene, such as brushing twice a day and flossing regularly to prevent decay and bad breath.

A Word From Verywell

A dry mouth can be uncomfortable and lead to dental issues and other health problems if left untreated. You can take some steps to remedy dry mouth at home, but you should also speak to your healthcare provider about this symptom to get help determining the cause and a treatment that is appropriate for you.

8 Sources

(Video) Diabetic’s Mouth! What’s Inside?

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.Diabetes, gum disease, & other dental problems.

  2. MedlinePlus.Diabetes insipidus.

  3. Alsakran Altamimi M. Update knowledge of dry mouth- A guideline for dentists. Afr Health Sci. 2014;14(3):736-742. doi:10.4314/ahs.v14i3.33

  4. Bostock ECS, Kirkby KC, Taylor BV, Hawrelak JA. Consumer reports of "Keto Flu" associated with the Ketogenic diet. Front Nutr. 2020;7:20. Published 2020 Mar 13. doi:10.3389/fnut.2020.00020

  5. David S Ludwig, The Ketogenic diet: evidence for optimism but high-quality research needed, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 150, Issue 6, June 2020, Pages 1354–1359,doi:10.1093/jn/nxz308

  6. Northwestern Medicine.What you need to know about keto.

  7. American Diabetes Association.DKA (ketoacidosis) & ketones.

  8. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.Dry mouth.

By Rachel Macpherson
Rachel MacPherson is a health writer, certified personal trainer, and exercise nutrition coach based in Montreal.

See Our Editorial Process

Meet Our Medical Expert Board

(Video) 👉 Diabetes And Dry Mouth 🔴Health Tips

Share Feedback

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

What is your feedback?

(Video) Dry Mouth - Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & More…

FAQs

What does a diabetic dry mouth feel like? ›

Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is common, but if you're experiencing it nearly every day, you shouldn't ignore it. In addition to your mouth feeling constantly dry, symptoms of xerostomia can also include: dry, rough-feeling tongue. dry, cracked lips.

What does dry mouth mean for a diabetic? ›

A Dry Mouth isn't always just a result of dehydration. Diabetes and Dry Mouth are linked, as diabetes causes a reduction in saliva. With between 40%-80% of diabetics reporting Dry Mouth symptoms, the condition can be a result of diabetes. Reduced saliva can lead to tooth decay or an oral condition such as gingivitis.

Is dry mouth a symptom of diabetes? ›

One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is dry mouth, or xerostomia. Dry mouth is a common symptom in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes will experience it, though. You can also have dry mouth if you don't have diabetes.

Why is my mouth dry even though I drink a lot of water? ›

It's normal to occasionally have a dry mouth if you're dehydrated or feeling nervous, but a persistently dry mouth can be a sign of an underlying problem. You should see your dentist or GP if you have an unusually dry mouth (known as xerostomia) so they can try to determine the cause.

Is dry mouth a symptom of high blood pressure? ›

Certain Health Disorders

Dry mouth could also be indicative of a health condition. Those with HIV, diabetes, anemia, high blood pressure, or hypertension are more likely to deal with dry mouth.

What does a diabetic tongue look like? ›

Oral Health Problems Can Point to Diabetes

In fact, in a study published in May 2019 in the journal Medicine, researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of thick or yellow tongue “fur,” as well as blue-tinged tongues.

What are the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes? ›

Here are more details about the signs and symptoms of diabetes:
  • Excessive thirst and increased urination. Excessive thirst and increased urination are common diabetes signs and symptoms. ...
  • Weight loss. ...
  • Blurred vision. ...
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. ...
  • Red, swollen, tender gums.

How do you get rid of dry mouth? ›

Advertisement
  1. Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. ...
  2. Limit your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier.
  3. Don't use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
  4. Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
  5. Sip water regularly.

What does diabetic thirst feel like? ›

Extreme thirst: No matter how much you drink, it feels like you're still dehydrated. Your tissues (such as your muscles) are, in fact, dehydrated when there's too much glucose (sugar) in your blood.

How do you treat diabetic thirst? ›

Balancing blood sugar levels will help to reduce or prevent excess thirst. Along with the right daily diet and exercise, you may need to take one or more diabetes medications. Metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza) is the first-line treatment. It belongs to a class of drugs known as biguanides.

What are the warning signs of type 2 diabetes? ›

Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly.
...
Symptoms
  • Increased thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Increased hunger.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Slow-healing sores.
  • Frequent infections.
20 Jan 2021

Why do I get extreme dry mouth at night? ›

One common cause of dry mouth at night is snoring or breathing through the mouth because your nasal passages are clogged or inflamed, using mouth ware such as bite splints or dental retainers, or using a CPAP machine due to sleep apnea. Other causes of dry mouth include: Simple aging. Diabetes.

Is dry mouth serious? ›

Dry mouth isn't a serious medical condition on its own. However, it's sometimes a symptom of another underlying condition that requires treatment. It can also lead to complications, like tooth decay and mouth sores.

What drink is good for dry mouth? ›

Food & Beverages that Help Dry Mouth

Sugar-free juices, reduced-sugar sports drinks, club soda, and herbal tea with lemon are good beverage choices when you just can't stand the idea of drinking any more water. A soft, high-protein diet is recommended for people with dry mouth.

What is a natural remedy for dry mouth at night? ›

If you can still make saliva, the actions of chewing and sucking stimulate production of saliva. Try chewing sugarless gum with xylitol or sucking on lozenges. For lozenges, Dr. Hou suggests those containing slippery elm and/or marshmallow root.

Can heart problems cause dry mouth? ›

If you take medication for heart disease you are probably experiencing a very dangerous side effect: Dry Mouth. Dry Mouth is a side effect of popular heart medications including: Blood pressure medications. Anti-depression/Anti-Anxiety.

Does metformin make your mouth dry? ›

This may include confusion, seizures, dry mouth, vomiting, or sweet-smelling breath. Metformin may interact with numerous medications, which may impact the medication effects or lead to serious complications.

Can stress cause dry mouth? ›

Stress can affect your body in numerous ways and increase your likelihood of developing a large array of conditions, and dry mouth is no exception. Stress and anxiety can affect the flow of your saliva and cause dry mouth, according to the Journal of Dental Research, Dental Clinics, Dental Prospects.

What color is diabetic urine? ›

A water deprivation test involves not drinking any liquid for several hours to see how your body responds. If you have diabetes insipidus, you'll continue to pee large amounts of watery (dilute), light-colored urine when normally you'd only pee a small amount of concentrated, dark yellow urine.

What does diabetic urine look like? ›

Diabetes can cause cloudy urine when too much sugar builds up in your urine. Your urine may also smell sweet or fruity. Diabetes can also lead to kidney complications or increase risk of infections of the urinary tract, both of which can also make your urine appear cloudy.

What are 10 warning signs of diabetes? ›

Some of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are:
  • Feeling more thirsty than usual.
  • Urinating often.
  • Losing weight without trying.
  • Presence of ketones in the urine. ...
  • Feeling tired and weak.
  • Feeling irritable or having other mood changes.
  • Having blurry vision.
  • Having slow-healing sores.

How do you get rid of dry mouth with diabetes? ›

Strategies that can help decrease the feelings of dry mouth include:
  1. Use lip balm.
  2. Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy to boost saliva production.
  3. Sip water throughout the day.
  4. Use a humidifier while you sleep at night.
7 Mar 2022

How long does dry mouth last? ›

When the treatment stops, dry mouth usually goes away. Conditions that affect the salivary glands and cause dry mouth, such as Sjögren's syndrome, are usually lifelong.

How do diabetics get rid of thirst? ›

Balancing blood sugar levels will help to reduce or prevent excess thirst. Along with the right daily diet and exercise, you may need to take one or more diabetes medications. Metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza) is the first-line treatment. It belongs to a class of drugs known as biguanides.

How does diabetes affect your tongue? ›

Most diabetic patients are found to have oral manifestations, e.g., periodontal disease, xerostomia, burning mouth, salivary gland dysfunction, geographic tongue, candidiasis, etc. Buccal alterations could also be easily observed in patients with DM, especially coated tongue.

Does taking metformin cause dry mouth? ›

This may include confusion, seizures, dry mouth, vomiting, or sweet-smelling breath. Metformin may interact with numerous medications, which may impact the medication effects or lead to serious complications.

Why do Diabetics feel thirsty? ›

Excessive thirst and increased urination

When your kidneys can't keep up, the excess glucose is excreted into your urine, dragging along fluids from your tissues, which makes you dehydrated. This will usually leave you feeling thirsty. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you'll urinate even more.

Why do I get extreme dry mouth at night? ›

One common cause of dry mouth at night is snoring or breathing through the mouth because your nasal passages are clogged or inflamed, using mouth ware such as bite splints or dental retainers, or using a CPAP machine due to sleep apnea. Other causes of dry mouth include: Simple aging. Diabetes.

What is the fastest way to cure dry mouth? ›

Advertisement
  1. Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. ...
  2. Limit your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier.
  3. Don't use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
  4. Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
  5. Sip water regularly.

Is dry mouth serious? ›

Dry mouth isn't a serious medical condition on its own. However, it's sometimes a symptom of another underlying condition that requires treatment. It can also lead to complications, like tooth decay and mouth sores.

When should I be concerned about a dry mouth? ›

Medical conditions: Dry mouth can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, stroke and Sjogren's syndrome. Sjogren's syndrome (SHOW-grins) is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack the glands that produce moisture.

What color is diabetic urine? ›

A water deprivation test involves not drinking any liquid for several hours to see how your body responds. If you have diabetes insipidus, you'll continue to pee large amounts of watery (dilute), light-colored urine when normally you'd only pee a small amount of concentrated, dark yellow urine.

What does diabetic urine look like? ›

Diabetes can cause cloudy urine when too much sugar builds up in your urine. Your urine may also smell sweet or fruity. Diabetes can also lead to kidney complications or increase risk of infections of the urinary tract, both of which can also make your urine appear cloudy.

Can you flush out sugar by drinking water? ›

Experts advise drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day for oxygen to flow freely in your body and help the kidneys and colon eliminate waste. What's best, it helps in flushing out excess sugar from your body.

Can dentist tell if you have diabetes? ›

Dentists do not officially diagnose diabetes, this should be done by a physician. However, dentists can detect signs and symptoms of diabetes in people who are undiagnosed with type 2 adult onset diabetes.

Do diabetics get a weird taste in their mouth? ›

Some people with diabetes may also develop a metallic taste in their mouth. The reasons for taste disturbance vary, but might include medication or poor oral hygiene. Sometimes, a metallic taste in the mouth is also an early sign of diabetes.

What kind of mouthwash should diabetics use? ›

A study conducted by LISTERINE found that using LISTERINE Cool Mint Antiseptic Mouthwash twice daily helps to prevent and reduce plaque and gingivitis in people with controlled diabetes. Using LISTERINE Cool Mint can help maintain healthy gums and improve oral health.

Videos

1. Dry Mouth: Causes, Solutions & Prevention!
(SugarMD)
2. What to Do When You Have A Dry Mouth
(Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut)
3. Treatment Options for Dry Mouth
(Gentle Dental Care)
4. Gestational Diabetes Symptoms + Treatment
(Diabetes.co.uk)
5. Dry Mouth and Diabetes | Dr ETV | 26th March 2019 | డాక్టర్ ఈటీవీ
(ETV Life India)
6. Tips from Our Team: Dental - Dry Mouth with Diabetes
(Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Golda Nolan II

Last Updated: 01/20/2023

Views: 6306

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Golda Nolan II

Birthday: 1998-05-14

Address: Suite 369 9754 Roberts Pines, West Benitaburgh, NM 69180-7958

Phone: +522993866487

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Shopping, Quilting, Cooking, Homebrewing, Leather crafting, Pet

Introduction: My name is Golda Nolan II, I am a thoughtful, clever, cute, jolly, brave, powerful, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.