Oral care during cancer treatment
As per the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than one-third of cancer patients get mouth complications. Complications include mouth sores, dry mouth, jaw pain, and sensitive gums. Mouth health is as important as your overall health, so making your dentist an essential part of your cancer care team is important.
How does cancer have an impact on your mouth?
Both cancer and the treatment that it needs weaken the immune system. And in case your oral health is not healthy before treatment, you might become more prone to oral infections. When the condition becomes severe, it will delay cancer treatment. Furthermore, radiation therapy, especially in your head and neck, will cause damage to salivary glands that can result in thick and sticky saliva with a dry mouth. A dry mouth increases your chance of tooth decay and oral infection.
Many side effects of cancer treatment can cause eating, swallowing, and talking issues, while others make it very hard to fight off infections. You can decrease the risk of these oral side effects by consulting your dentist and the doctor treating your cancer.
So, what should you do?
You need to maintain your mouth at its best health before, during, and after cancer treatment, that will assist in lessening some of the side effects and allows you to focus on your overall healing.
How to take care of your teeth before cancer treatment?
You become more prone to mouth infections when oral health is not healthy before cancer treatment. Here are a few tips you should take into consideration before you undergo cancer treatment:
How to take care of your teeth during cancer treatment?
You might experience some mild to severe side effects during your cancer treatment. Make sure you have consulted your cancer care team before dental checkups, especially when you have a port for getting medications and feeding. This is vital as patients having port might be taking anti-blood clotting medications which can enhance bleeding during the medical and dental process.
A few side affects you get from cancer treatment that affects your oral health are:
Tips to follow to avoid oral issues during cancer treatment
How to take care of your teeth after cancer treatment?
After your cancer treatment is completed, you might experience some dental problems. While working hard to achieve your best health, do not forget to take good care of your oral health. Here are a few things you should take into consideration after the completion of your cancer treatment:
Cancer treatment has a high chance of giving a lot of side effects that have an impact on your mouth. However, when you work together with your cancer doctor and oral health doctors, it assists in decreasing the risk as well as the seriousness of those side effects. Check with your dentist before you start cancer treatment and tell them about any issues with your mouth. MyDentalPlan is one such platform with numerous dentists under one roof. Choose the one you think will suit you and schedule an appointment.
About the Author:
Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer
Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst
Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.