This month is Mouth Cancer Action Month, and for those of you receiving essential lifesaving treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, it can adversely affect your oral health. If you (or a loved one) need cancer treatment or are currently receiving treatment, there are some things you need to be aware of that can help reduce any complications and side effects.
Chemotherapy and radiation can cause oral health problems
Lifesaving cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy work by attacking cancer cells, but you should be aware that they also attack healthy cells, including those in the salivary glands and the lining of the mouth. Common symptoms from the cancer treatment can sometimes lead to patients suffering from a dry mouth or uncomfortable mouth sores. Cancer patients may also be at higher risk for dental disease, especially tooth decay.
Help reduce the problem
Patients and dentists can help reduce the chances of suffering from oral health side affects by making sure they visit their dentist for a full dental checkup before their treatment begins and during the treatment. If any dental work needs to be completed before the start of chemo or radiation therapy, it can be detected early. Its always best to check with your dentist to see how often you should visit, as this can vary depending on the patients condition.
Good oral hygiene during cancer treatment
Daily flossing and brushing is important for everyone; however, for cancer patients proper brushing is more important than ever. An antibacterial mouth wash is also recommended to cancer patients to help prevent tooth decay. Prescription medications are sometimes recommended to alleviate dry mouth, but drinking plenty of water, chewing xylitol-containing gum, or using a soothing rinse of salt, water and baking soda can also help.
Understanding and following medical recommendations
Its important to recognise the warning signs of an potential oral health problems that you might be prone to whilst receiving treatment, as well as taking the essential prescribed medications. Our team at Bamboo Dental will provide you with all the help and support required to keep your mouth and teeth healthy during those difficult times.