The Heartbreak of Dry Mouth

Yesterday morning at the gym it happened again.  I had to make frequents stops for water during my cardio kick box class. (No really, I didn’t welcome the interruptions!)  As usual, I surveyed the room full of sweating people and rhetorically asked, What’s the matter with these people?  Why don’t they drink?? 

I leave trails of used cups and glasses around the house.  I never pass a drinking fountain without stopping.  I had a sneaking suspicion it might be connected to the diabetes (what isn’t?)

Dry_mouth_1 And then I got back to my office and found this email from some PR folks at GlaxoSmithKline about DRY MOUTH.  (What a coinkydink, as my daughter would say!)  Yes, dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, “is one of the more prevalent health conditions” experienced by people with diabetes.  Really??  Who knew… 

I learned that dry mouth is a common side effect of more than 400 drugs.  And reports indicate that one in four adults, including those with and without diabetes, experience chronic dry mouth — which can lead to decay and of course bad breath, and OMG stop me here.

Apparently traditional treatments include special food preparation (think mush), sucking on sugarless candy, using a humidifier, and even artificial saliva (available over-the-counter – yuck!).

But GSK has something special for us too: Oasis Moisturizing Mouthwash and Mouth Spray, from the makers of Sensodyne.  Get your free samples here.  From other providers, there’s also Biotene, ZAPP Gum, and Thayer’s Natural Remedies, to name a few.

I thought you might like to know, in case you’re a chronic drinker like me.


7 Responses

  1. CB
    CB December 21, 2006 at 10:11 am | | Reply

    Dry Mouth, apparently yet another malady that we Ds are subject to. Like you said, who’d of known, but it gets added to the ever-increasing list of ailments that PWDs can look forward to learning about and dealing with. I really wonder, what disorder is NOT related to being diabetic? Anyway, thanks for the useful info. Here’s to sucking sugarless hard candies…

  2. Mary Sue
    Mary Sue December 21, 2006 at 10:51 am | | Reply

    Dry mouth is also symptomatic for people like me who work in phone Customer Service. When the water cooler is empty and the delivery guy isn’t due for a couple of days, well, you’d think someone had killed a puppy.

    I love reading your blog and all the info on diabetes. My great-grandmother, grandmother, uncle and father all have Type II, with onset in their 40′s/50′s. Dad controls his with diet and exercise, my uncle and grandmother are on oral medication, and my great-grandmother (obm) used to get insulin shots.

    My issue? My mother. Who drives me INSANE. I live far away, so she fusses over me over the phone. That’s okay. I can handle that. But I’m dreading heading home for the hols, because at some point she’s going to trap me in the car (my parents live in the boonies, it’s a good half-hour drive to the nearest quickie mart) and give me a lecture on taking care of my health and losing weight.

    I look just like my mother, by the way, down to the matching double chins.

    The thing that irritates me? This drive will likely end with us eating something, either at a fast-food place or something at the house, which, thanks to the hols, is packed to the gills with cookies and candy. And the cookies will be hidden in cupboards, but we’ll take turns sneaking into the kitchen to liberate a few. It wasn’t until a few years ago I realised that squirreling away junk food and pigging out on it in secret was not normal, and actually a sign of an eating disorder.

    It gets harder every year to hear this lecture and then go home to these unhealthy habits that directly contradict the lecture.

    Aaaand… now I’m done with the spleen vent, sorry to get it all over your comments. :D

  3. Jenny
    Jenny December 21, 2006 at 10:54 am | | Reply

    Hey, ah, Mary Sue? What time did you say you were showing up at my house?! Sounds just like home!

  4. Michael Park
    Michael Park December 21, 2006 at 1:55 pm | | Reply

    I am also an excessive drinker… of water, that is…
    I really don’t think we need to call it a malady or a condition or anything like that.. I think of it more as a constant reminder to drink enough water during the day!!

  5. Hamish
    Hamish December 21, 2006 at 2:24 pm | | Reply

    I’m a bit confused – isn’t there a difference between being chronically thirsty and having a persistently dry mouth? I’ve had the latter when nervous in interviews, without feeling particularly thirsty.

    Is it excessive thirst you’re suffering from, or dry mouth (great to know we can get that too …) or both?

  6. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk December 21, 2006 at 8:02 pm | | Reply

    Remember to have your dry mouth checked by a doctor. If your glucose levels are staying in “normal” ranges, the dry mouth is not being caused by diabetes, per se. Dry mouth in diabetes happens with high blood glucose levels.

    There is an autoimmune condition that can cause the salivary glands to stop working. Might want to check into that. :-(

  7. AmyT
    AmyT December 22, 2006 at 8:32 am | | Reply

    Right, guys, you nailed it: I might not have official Dry Mouth, but I’m fascinated by the concept just the same. My father was also chronically thirsty with his T2 diabetes. I’m sure there’s a connection.

    Ooh, and Mary Sue: I feel your pain. Doesn’t going home sometimes resemble a scene from a bad movie? Or a good Woody Allen movie, for that matter?

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