The unusual sign of diabetes indicated by saliva.

The unusual sign of diabetes indicated by saliva.
The unusual sign of diabetes indicated by saliva.

As with most bodily functions, saliva production is one you probably don't take too seriously until you see an ad for some drug that turns your mouth into a bubble factory. . In addition to protecting the mouth from trauma caused by chewing, swallowing and talking, saliva is essential for maintaining oral hygiene by limiting the growth of bacteria in the mouth. It provides the proteins and minerals needed for protection, as well as the antimicrobial substances needed to fight bacteria. It is also the unsung hero of digestion. Saliva contains digestive enzymes, including amylase, which begins to break down simple sugars and starches and begins the digestion of fats.

Because saliva is mostly water, it is usually clear and thin in viscosity. However, associated health problems can affect both the amount and content of saliva produced, which can lead to changes in how it looks and feels. It's not unusual for saliva to change consistency, taste and color throughout the day (and depending on what you eat), but if there are specific changes that seem to persist then you should see your doctor to check if they're caused by . For example, dehydration, autoimmune diseases and infections can affect the consistency and amount of saliva produced by the salivary glands. Xerostomia or dry mouth is very common and can occur for several reasons.

It is usually a sign of dehydration or a side effect of certain medications. A number of commonly used medications affect the production and secretion of saliva and lead to dry mouth. These include blood pressure medications, diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and some pain and anxiety medications. Too little saliva and dry mouth can also be caused by an autoimmune condition called Sjogren's syndrome. It is a chronic multisystemic inflammatory disorder that affects the lacrimal and salivary glands, resulting in dry eyes and mouth.

Diabetes is another common medical condition associated with dry mouth. It is believed that the increased presence of glucose (sugar) causes an imbalance in the composition of saliva, and diabetes itself causes a reduction in the function of the salivary glands. On the other hand, excessive saliva production could be a subtle sign of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease called It is a sudden release of saliva that occurs when stomach acid and saliva are regurgitated into the mouth. It can also be a side effect of pregnancy, known as ptyalism gravidarum. The reason for this phenomenon is not clear, but it is believed to be related to hormonal changes, such as the production of hCG (a hormone produced by the placenta) and increased levels of estrogen.

Persistent nausea that can occur during pregnancy can be another possible trigger. But the most common reason for the feeling of too much saliva is a decrease in swallowing (or eliminating) a normal amount of saliva. Many factors can lead to difficulty swallowing, but this does not typically mean that the salivary glands are producing too much fluid. It is usually a problem seen in people with neurological diseases. It is always best to consult a doctor if anything is different or strange.

Blood in the saliva is usually the result of an injury to the mouth or gums. For example, if you use too much force when you brush your teeth. Poor dental hygiene and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) are the most common causes of blood in saliva. Other causes include canker sores and mouth ulcers. Mouth ulcers can also be caused by other systemic diseases, such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease.

Diets low in vitamin B12, folic acid, iron or zinc can also lead to mucosal lesions in the mouth and blood in the saliva. If saliva tastes sour or metallic it could be a sign of acid reflux, which causes stomach acid to back up into the throat, creating a bitter or sour sensation once it mixes with saliva. Sour or metallic tastes are especially common when you're pregnant, due to hormonal changes combined with constant nausea and vomiting. Another culprit is hay fever. In addition to irritated eyes, runny noses and sneezing, inflamed nasal passages and trouble smelling food can trigger a metallic taste in the mouth.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is also a common cause of metallic taste due to its effect on the central nervous system. People with kidney and liver problems may experience a metallic taste in the mouth due to the accumulation of impurities in the blood and body secretions, including saliva. Sweet-tasting saliva can be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes, where high blood sugar causes an increase in glucose excreted in saliva. Bacterial or viral infections of the upper respiratory tract can leave a sweet taste in your mouth by interfering with how your brain reacts to sweet, bitter, sour and salty tastes. The infection itself can also cause the saliva to have more glucose than normal, although this usually goes away once the infection is treated.

If the consistency of your saliva is more sticky and it looks like you dipped your tongue in white paint, it could be a double whammy of dehydration and dry mouth: Debris, bacteria and dead cells remain in the crevices of the tongue, giving the appearance of a white surface . Or, it could be an oral infection. The fungus Candida albicans can cause candidiasis. People with diabetes are more vulnerable because the sugars in your saliva can lead to diabetes. Certain medications, such as antibiotics and inhaled corticosteroids, can also disrupt the balance of microorganisms in the body and increase the risk of candidiasis.

Changes in consistency, when saliva becomes thick and sticky, are commonly caused by an imbalance of water and other saliva constituents. This could indicate that you are a mouth breather. Say, as a result of a stuffy nose, deviated septum, or obstructive sleep apnea. The drying effect of mouth breathing at night can make what's left of your saliva the next morning feel extra sticky. .

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