Mouth and teeth changes after cancer treatment
- Oral mucositis (inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth)
- Dry mouth
- Osteonecrosis (a disease that affects bones, including the jaw bone)
- Dental problems, like cavities
- Change in taste
- Trouble swallowing
What medical help is available for mouth and teeth problems?
How can I cope better with mouth and teeth problems?
- Use an extra-soft toothbrush to clean your teeth, gums and tongue
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Brush your teeth after every meal and at bedtime
- Use mild toothpaste and alcohol-free mouthwashes
- If your mouth is sore try to avoid irritating it further by avoiding citrus fruits and drinks
- Don’t drink alcoholic drinks
- Avoid all tobacco products
- Don’t use toothpicks
- Avoid hot and spicy foods and sharp and crunchy foods that can scrape your mouth
Mouth care after radiation therapy
- See a dentist every 4-8 weeks for the first 6 months – radiation therapy can cause teeth cavities. Radiation can also cause changes in the muscles and bones that open and close the mouth. The dentist will recommend treatments and exercises to prevent these complications from worsening.
- Perform your mouth opening exercises regularly – You will have been shown some simple exercises to keep your mouth and jaw as flexible as possible. It is important to perform these exercises regularly.
- Drink or sip lots of water
- Suck ice chips
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free sweets
- Use a saliva substitute to help moisten your tongue and mouth
- Eat your favourite foods but soften them with sauces and gravies where possible.
- Try eating soft, liquid foods like soups, milkshakes, custards, natural yoghurt. But vary them so you don’t get bored.
- Chop up meat and vegetables finely for stews or casseroles.
- Blend or liquidise cooked foods.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 cups of fluid each day.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well
- Follow your speech therapist’s advice for any special eating techniques