Chemotherapy and Oral Health

If you are going to be starting chemotherapy, you should visit your dentist before your treatment begins. Ideally, 1 month before so that you can get any problems taken care of. If time does not permit, at least have a cleaning and exam. Inform the dentist that you are beginning treatment.

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells and can also kill some normal cells, even in your mouth. You may experience side effects from the chemotherapy drugs on your gums, tongue and the lining of your mouth.

Some of these side effects include-

  • Painful gums and mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Painful tongue
  • Changes in taste
  • Here are some tips on oral care during your treatments:
  • Keep your mouth moist with water and /or sugarless gum.
  • Brush and floss daily using fluoride tooth paste and a soft brush
  • Don’t use mouthwash that contains alcohol
  • Rinse with warm salt water -1/4 tsp salt, 6 oz warm water
  • Avoid foods that are sharp, crunchy and spicy
  • Limit citrus juice; the acid can irritate your mouth
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

Please feel free to pass this information on to family and friends