This question was asked by a patient: "I'm waking up, what seems like, every single morning with a severely dry mouth and a bitter taste. Does it ever happen to anyone else? Would that have something to do with my kidney disease?"
Recommended Reading: How can CKD Patients Correct the Bad Taste in Their Mouth
If you have Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes you likely already have, or will experience Xerostomia (Dry Mouth). In general, people take their oral health for granted because most do not know that the health of their mouth affects Diabetes control, Kidney Transplant success, mouth sores, infection reduction, digestion and how difficult it is to wear dentures. Did you know that without good dental health you may be ineligible to receive a Kidney Transplant?
Saliva is important because it prevents infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth. It moistens and cleanses the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by dental plaque, and it washes away the dead skin cells that accumulate on the gums, tongue and cheeks. Saliva also helps with the digestion, making it possible to chew, taste and swallow food. Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, which is important for Chronic Kidney Disease patients and Diabetics because it helps them speak, eat comfortably and improves their overall health.
In most cases, dry mouth is due to side effects of medications. There are over 500 prescription and nonprescription medications that have been found to cause dry mouth. Medications that are commonly used in treating Diabetes and/or Chronic Kidney Disease are those for high blood pressure, and statins for heart health which is a common complication for both Diseases. Other drug groups that cause dry mouth are those used for depression, anxiety and allergies, as well as diuretics, muscle relaxants, sedatives and anti-inflammatory medications. Caffeinated beverages also cause dry mouth, and therefore should be limited.
However, side effects of your medication may not be the only reason for dry mouth. Other issues include nerve damage, Dialysis, lack of hydration, and high blood sugar. So the "dry mouth" you have been dealing with may be an underlying issue that is a symptom of a more pressing health concern.
- Some simple ways to improve your dry mouth include:
- Performing oral hygiene at least four times daily, after each meal and before bedtime.
- Using only toothpaste with fluoride (some toothpastes such as Biotene are formulated for dry mouth).
- Keeping water handy to moisten the mouth at all times.
- Avoiding foods with sugar and salt content as much as possible.
- Rinsing with nonalcoholic mouthwashes.
In severe cases, try salivary substitutes, gels or artificial saliva preparations. These may relieve discomfort by temporarily wetting the mouth and replacing some of the saliva constituents. Diagnosis of dry mouth is difficult due to the subjective nature of this condition so if you think you may have the condition, talk to your Healthcare Team immediately before it becomes serious.
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