Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a lack of saliva in your mouth. It can be a symptom of high blood sugar in people with diabetes or another health issue. It can cause serious health issues such as gum disease and mouth infections. People with diabetes should have regular dental checkups and make lifestyle changes to maintain oral health and prevent dry mouth.
Dry mouth, also called xerostomia (ZEER-oh-STOH-mee-ah), is a lack of moisture in your mouth. It happens when you don’t have enough saliva (spit).
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Dry mouth is a common symptom of high blood sugar in people with diabetes. Sometimes dry mouth is the first noticeable symptom of diabetes. If you have dry mouth and think you could have diabetes, talk to your healthcare provider.
Everyone may experience a dry mouth occasionally. But if you have dry mouth for a long time, you may feel or experience:
Saliva has many important jobs, including:
People with diabetes who have high blood sugar are more at risk for infections, and they don’t heal as quickly as people with blood sugar levels in the target ranges. High blood sugar and dry mouth together can lead to serious dental problems if they’re not treated.
High blood sugar is a common cause of dry mouth. But it can happen for other reasons, including:
The best way to treat dry mouth is to treat whatever’s causing it.
If high blood sugar is the cause, you and your healthcare provider can find ways to monitor and manage your blood sugar. If a medication leads to dry mouth, you can ask your healthcare provider about stopping or changing the medication or taking lower doses.
Your healthcare provider also may recommend a saliva substitute such as sorbitol.
Strategies that can help decrease the feelings of dry mouth include:
The best way to prevent dry mouth with high blood sugar is to work with your healthcare team to find a diabetes management plan that works for you. Here are some things that can help to keep your blood sugar in the target range:
Other lifestyle changes can also help prevent dry mouth:
Dry mouth might be an early symptom of diabetes. If you experience dry mouth, you should mention it to a healthcare provider at your next appointment.
But make an appointment sooner if you have diabetes and any of the following symptoms:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Dry mouth is a common symptom in people with diabetes who have high blood sugar. Long-term dry mouth with diabetes can cause health problems, such as gum disease and infections. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and to maintain good oral hygiene.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/07/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.