You are probably aware of some of the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and hair loss. However, over a third of cancer patients can also develop dental health issues, such as pain in the mouth and gums, chronic dry mouth, a burning, peeling or swelling tongue, oral infection, and a change in taste. Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing these oral complications:
– Keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums because saliva isn’t there to clean out bad bacteria. To combat these issues, you can drink a lot of water, suck ice chips and chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy. You can even use a saliva substitute to help moisten your mouth.
– Clean your mouth, tongue, and gums regularly. We recommend that you brush your teeth with an extra soft-bristled toothbrush after every meal and at bedtime. If your mouth hurts, try running the brush under warm water first. Use fluoride toothpaste. You’ll also want to floss gently every day. Avoid any particularly sore areas.
– If your mouth feels sore, be careful about the foods and drinks you consume. As much as possible, eat soft, moist foods like cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs. If you’d like to eat more chewy foods, try softening them with various sauces, broths, yogurt or other liquids. Avoid sharp, crunchy foods like potato chips, hot and spicy foods, candy and soda, alcohol and tobacco.
We hope that these tips help you feel more comfortable while you are going through a difficult experience. If you have any questions or need help with anything at all, don’t hesitate to call Masterpiece Dental in American Fork, Utah at 801.756.5136 to talk to a member of our dental staff. If you are concerned about your mouth, we can set up an appointment so you can meet with Dr. Brandon Green. We’re here to support you!