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Dental Care During Chemotherapy and Radiation

Posted on 11/15/2023 by Weo Admin
White dentist helping her patient fill out insurance paperwork on a clipboardCancer treatments like chemotherapy and head/neck radiation drastically impact oral health. Practicing meticulous dental care before, during, and after therapy is vital to prevent complications. Staying vigilant ensures optimal oral well-being.

Importance of Pre-Treatment Dental Exam

Before beginning cancer therapy, a comprehensive exam identifies any areas needing treatment to minimize infection risk. Any major procedures like implants or extractions must be completed with time to heal initially.

Your dentist will address decay, disease, and irritations to safeguard your mouth before immunosuppression begins. Starting therapy orally healthy gives the best prognosis.

Oral Care During Treatment

Strict oral hygiene minimizes side effects during chemotherapy and radiation. Brush gently after each meal with an extra-soft toothbrush. Floss once daily, very carefully. It is advised to avoid irritants such as alcohol, tobacco, and spicy foods.

Use lip balm and rinse with a salt and baking soda solution several times daily. Stay fully hydrated as well.

Risks to Address

The most common oral side effects - mouth sores, dry mouth, bleeding gums, and infections - stem largely from severely reduced saliva. Less saliva allows exponential bacterial growth. Medicated rinses, gels, and professional cleanings prevent these issues.

Long-Term Effects

Head and neck radiation survivors often experience permanent dry mouth, loss of taste, and higher decay risk due to salivary gland damage. Working closely with your dentist manages these lifelong effects through continued hydration, fluoride, and diligence.

Don't Delay Essential Care

Postponing needed treatment allows for preventable disease progression and systemic infection. Communicate any troubling symptoms with your oncologist and dentist promptly. They can collaborate closely on solutions to maintain your oral and overall health.

With dedicated home hygiene and professional support, your smile can stay vibrant through cancer therapy. Be proactive every step of the way.

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