Oral Effects of Chemotherapy

cancertreatmentsCancer treatments can be tough on your body. Chemotherapy consists of the application of a cocktail of very strong drugs to kill cancer cells. However, the problem with that is that the drugs do not target only bad cells. They target good ones too. This can affect all aspects of your body including your oral health. Read on to find out the oral effects of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy Facts

Fact #1: Your oral cavity harbors both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in balance.  If that balance is disrupted it can cause problems with your oral health.
Fact #2: Because chemotherapy drugs kill the good bacteria and healthy cells in your mouth, it can affect your teeth, gums, saliva, and soft oral tissues.
Fact #3: When the delicate balance in your mouth is disrupted, it can be painful to eat, swallow, and talk.
Fact #4: Chemotherapy treatments can leave you vulnerable to oral infections.
Fact #5: Chemotherapy treatments can cause a change in your taste, dry mouth, painful mouth and gums, burning mouth, and peeling, or swelling of the tongue.
Fact #6: There are several steps to take to help keep your mouth healthy during cancer treatments.
Fact #7: Brush after every meal and before bedtime.
Fact #8: Use an extra-soft bristled toothbrush.
Fact #9: Using a fluoride toothpaste brush your teeth, gums, and tongue.
Fact #10: After brushing rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash.
Fact #11: Rinsing several times a day with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and ¼ teaspoon of salt in one quart of warm water, helps keep your mouth moist and disinfected. Follow with a plain water rinse.
Fact #12: Other ways to keep your mouth moist include sucking on ice chips or hard sugar-free candy, drinking water, chewing sugar free gum, or using a saliva substitute.

About Dr. Jeffrey Allen

Dr. Jeffrey Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.