Chemotherapy and Your Mouth
AMD Dentistry is ready to meet your family’s dental needs
In this day and time everyone knows at least one person affected by cancer.
Treatments for this disease differ depending on the type and severity of the cancer.
It is important for your dentist and your cancer doctor to work together as it pertains to your oral health. You may be surprised to know that your oral care is a very important factor in your cancer treatment. If you go to the dentist before your chemotherapy or radiation therapy begins, you can help prevent serious mouth problems.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. Many dental side effects that occur during chemotherapy occur because the person’s mouth is not healthy before chemotherapy starts. Problems that can occur during treatment include but are not limited to: painful mouth and gums, dry mouth, change in taste, and infection.
Burning, peeling, or swelling of the tongue can also occur. Understandably, all mouth problems can not be avoided but the fewer the better. Ideally, if you are starting chemotherapy or radiation therapy you should see your dentist at least 2 weeks before your treatment starts. If you have already started chemotherapy and didn’t go to the dentist, be sure to see one as soon as possible.
At your appointment, we will take xrays, check your teeth, take care of your mouth problems, and show you how to maintain your oral health during your treatments. Once your treatments start, you should examine your mouth on a daily basis for any changes such as sores or white spots. If your mouth is sore try chewing food that is easy to chew and swallow. You can also soften your food with broth, gravy, or liquids. Another particular side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment is dry mouth. To help with this, you should drink a lot of water, use sugar-less gum or sugar-free hard candy, suck on ice chips, or use a saliva substitute such as Biotene to help keep moisture in your mouth. Dentures that don’t fit well can cause even more problems. Be sure to talk to your dentist if this occurs.
It is important to remember that the side effects of your chemotherapy drugs can make it hard for you to eat, talk, and swallow. You are more likely to get dental infections and this can be dangerous when receiving cancer treatment. Be sure to talk with your oncologist, oral health care provider, or nurse if you have any persistent mouth problems while taking chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Ideally, you should be seeing a dentist at least twice a year. Put yourself first and don’t neglect your oral health.
Currently, our office is partnering with the American Cancer Society in “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.” During the months of September and October a portion of all Whitening will be donated to Breast Cancer Research. We are currently running specials on all whitening. If you are interested please call our office at (870) 732-2107. Other Donations are also accepted. AMD Family Dentistry is located at 306 North 6th Street (near Center point Gas) in West Memphis, Arkansas.