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 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. Our dentist and team are happy to help you through this difficult time in any way that we can. Read on for some ways to reduce your risk of developing these oral complications:
Dry mouth can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums because saliva isn’t there to naturally rinse and clean out bad bacteria. To combat this problem, drink a lot of water, suck on (but don’t chew) ice chips, and chew sugarless gum. You can even use a saliva substitute, which you can find online and at some drugstores, without needing a prescription.
To avoid irritating your mouth, brush your teeth with an extra soft-bristled toothbrush after every meal and at bedtime. For additional bristle softness, you can run the brush under warm water before brushing. Use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth from decay. You’ll also want to floss gently every day, evading flossing any particularly sore areas.
If your mouth is sensitive, you can lessen discomfort by being careful about what you put inside of your mouth. Try to consume soft, moist foods such as cooked cereals, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes, and soften other foods with sauce, broths, yogurt, or other liquids. Avoid crunchy or spicy foods, candy and soda, and controlled substances such as alcohol and tobacco.
If you need help with anything at all, please call 21st Century Dental Care in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, at (908) 604-5959 to talk to a member of our dental team. We can set up an appointment with Dr. Vitaly Friedman as needed. We’re here to help you and your smile!