Chemotherapy and Oral Health

Friday, July 12th, 2013, 1:44 am

Patients who are going through chemotherapy have a lot of things on their minds… oral health shouldn’t be one of them but chemotherapy can affect your teeth and gums.

Before beginning treatment it is important to visit your dentist to make sure your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible. Common side effects of chemotherapy include damage to the gums, weakening of teeth and damage to the glands that produce saliva. Some patients also develop mouth sores.

The dental side effects of chemotherapy vary widely from patient to patient. Your dentist and your doctor can work together to reduce any discomfort from dental side effects. There are medications that your doctor may suggest in the case of mouth sores or reduced saliva production. Don’t be shy about telling your doctor about your oral health side effects.

Your dentist will check your mouth to track any changes that may occur due to chemotherapy and will teach you how to pay special attention to your home oral health care during this period.

If you experience dry mouth or reduced saliva flow you can help keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water or sucking ice chips throughout the day (don’t chew the ice). Saliva substitutes can also be purchased from pharmacies. Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because these will dry the mouth even more.

Brushing and flossing every day are important. Using an alcohol free antibacterial mouth rinse can help. Some people find that rinsing the mouth with lukewarm salt water is comforting and aids healing.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to make your next appointment. Your health and well-being are important to us.

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