AskNadia: Is Bad Breath and Dry Mouth from My Diabetes

Dear Nadia,

Ever since I have had type 2 diabetes, I seem to have bad breath and a dry mouth. How do I know if this is from my diabetes?

Sean

Dear Sean:

Bad breath and dry mouth can be related to your diabetes. Sometimes new medications can also give you bad breath. There are over 500 drugs that treat high blood pressure, cardiovascular heart disease, mental health, allergies and steroids just to name a few that can yield a foul mouth order. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, experiencing bad breath and dry mouth, can be a warning not to be ignored. High blood sugar does play a role in the process.

Halitosis

Halitosis, commonly referred to as bad breath can be a result of high blood sugars. This occurs when bacteria mixes with the plaque. When you eat a meal, particles of the food usually stay in your mouth. Bacteria feeds on the sugar from the food particles in your mouth and releases a bad smell.  High blood sugar is a breeding ground for the bacteria and causes bad breath. If the bacteria and plaque go unattended, you will be at risk for periodontal gum disease.

22% of People living with diabetes have gum disease.

Xerostomia

Dry Mouth also referred to as xerostomia can add to bad breath.

Saliva helps with the digestion process by allowing us to taste and digest food. Saliva also neutralizes the acid from food particles and prevents infections. The absence of saliva keeps your teeth and gums dry, allowing bacteria to flourish in developing cavities. Bleeding gums from dry mouth put you at risk for gingivitis; the fist stage of gum disease.

Alcohol based mouthwashes are not recommended for people with dry mouth. If you have diabetes and do not have dry mouth, then using a mouth wash with alcohol is shown to be the preferred treatment for oral health.

Oral Hygiene

There are over 700 bacteria strains in our mouth. While most are benign others can be harmful and contribute to gum disease.  Oral health then plays a significant role in preventing gum disease. Simple routines like; eating less sugar or starchy foods that turn to sugar, brushing and flossing your teeth after meals, using mouthwash to kill bacteria and marinating regular dental check-ups will keep your teeth intact, treat bad breath, dry mouth and contribute to a beautiful smile.

Source:

Defining the Normal Bacterial Flora of the Oral Cavity

Dry Mouth and Diabetes

American Dental Association

Disclaimer:

Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia has received 19 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
 She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News, Phili.com, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.

 

 

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