Cancer affects your life in a myriad of ways, but one aspect that often gets overlooked is how the condition can impact your oral healthy. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, one in three cancer patients will develop at least one complication that affects their mouth. These complications can be mild or severe, and we want to share some tips for preventing and caring for these side effects of cancer in today’s blog.
Cancer’s Effect On Your Mouth
Some problems that can develop in your mouth as a direct result of your cancer treatment include:
- Dry mouth
- Mouth sores
- Gum sensitivity
- Acute or chronic jaw pain
If you develop any of these mouth conditions, bring it up to your medical team and your dentist. Problems in your mouth need to be treated as soon as possible in order to prevent a delay in cancer treatment, so don’t ignore the problem.
Protecting Your Mouth If You Have Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are going through treatment, here are some tips for caring for your mouth before, during and after your cancer treatment.
- Before Treatment – The best thing you can do for your mouth prior to cancer treatment is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth regularly, flossing and avoiding things like excessive sugar or tobacco products.
- During Treatment – During treatment, be sure to continue the above tips, but also pay close attention to your mouth. If you begin to notice sores or bleeding gums, let your cancer team know. They may be able to prescribe medication to protect against infection or monitor problems to ensure they don’t get worse.
- After Treatment – Finally, after treatment care is the exact same as before treatment care, but you’ll also want to make an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. They’ll be able to ensure everything looks as it should and give you more tips in the event you’re still dealing with some lingering symptoms.
Dr. Brooks has helped numerous patients care for their oral health while they fight a different battle against cancer, and he can be your resource if you need one. Reach out to his office today for more information.