Most people are aware of common side effects of cancer treatment like nausea and hair loss. But many people don’t realise that most people treated for cancer develop problems in the mouth. These problems can make it hard to eat, talk, swallow, interfere with cancer treatment and lessen quality of life.
Mouth sores or mucositis can occur because Chemotherapy kills both cancer cells and healthy cells that are fast growing like the cells that line your mouth. The inside of your mouth may become red and swollen with white patches. It starts about 7 days after starting treatment and eases up about 2 weeks later. Tell your nurse or doctor immediately if you your mouth becomes sore. They will immediately provide you with a mouthwash to prevent the sores becoming infected and medication to relieve the pain which can be severe in some cases. This will allow you to eat and drink normally. Preventing infection from developing in your mouth at this time is a top priority because this could lead to an interruption of your chemotherapy.
Tips for Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy
- See a dentist 1 month before beginning cancer treatment to make sure your mouth is healthy.
- Give your dentist your cancer doctor’s contact information. It is important they discuss your cancer treatment.
- Follow the dentist or hygienist’s instructions about keeping your mouth clean during and after chemotherapy.
- Keep your mouth moist by continually taking sips of water, sucking ice chips, using sugar free gum and artificial saliva if this is recommended.
- Avoid foods and drinks that could irritate your mouth such as hot spicy foods, or sharp crunchy foods like crisps.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Contact your doctor or cancer care nurse immediately if your mouth starts to hurt.
Additional Cleaning for those Undergoing Chemotherapy
DeCare understand the special challenges that come with chemotherapy and the eﬀects it can have on your oral health and wellbeing. DeCare’s supplementary cleaning beneﬁt* for chemotherapy patients supports your oral wellbeing during this challenging time. Regular dental cleanings can help minimise complications and allow you to focus on your health.
*(Available on Healthy Smiles Levels 3 & 4, TeamCare Levels 3 & 3+, or TeamCare Access Levels 3 & 3+)