Mouth and Dental Health1 Comment

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I have been quite stressed over the past 3 months due to work problems. When things get more stressful than normal, I notice that I suffer a lot with a dry mouth that is so parched that the inside feels rough and leathery.

I also noticed that my breath becomes different at the time. My wife says it smells like I am sick but to me it tastes fruity and spicy (if that makes any sense).

We have a lot of wellness programs at work and I know that my symptoms are indicative of diabetes. But every time I was tested at work, the blood sugar levels were normal. Even my cholesterol and BP are normal.

I must stress that my symptoms clear up completely when I am not stressed and it stays like this for days or even weeks. Is it possible that this is diabetes?

1 Comment on this article

  • Dr. Alison September 14, 2010

    Emotions such as stress, nervous tension, or fear very frequently cause dry mouth. It happens to most of us. As you very correctly observed, your symptoms clear up as soon as your stress is reduced. Stress also brings about some seemingly unrelated symptoms and one of them is bad breath, which may be very mild in some people while being more noticeable in others. You say that you have been under a lot of stress over the last 3 months, so that speaks for itself.

    Persistent dry mouth could be another cause of a noticeably different smell in your breath, since dry mouth can lead to increased bacterial activity in your mouth and the odor in your mouth could be the first sign of gum disease or tooth decay.

    Perhaps due to your stress at work you are neglecting your meals and going without food for a long time. That may be a reason for this different smell in your breath. Another aggravating factor may be if you are suffering from gastric reflux.

    As to your fear that you might be suffering from diabetes, that seems rather unlikely to me in view of your normal blood sugar levels on different occasions. The fruity smell in the breath related to diabetes is a characteristic sign of ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition, which occurs when the blood sugar level becomes extremely high. As far as I can gather from your observations, you do not seem to have any other symptoms indicative of diabetes, but if you are unduly worried, I would suggest that you consult with a physician and get a thorough check up and work-up done as suggested by him. A glucose tolerance test will conclusively rule out diabetes.


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