Coping With Mouth Sores Caused by Cancer Treatment
Certain cancer treatments can potentially cause mouth sores that look like burns or ulcers. This condition is known as mucositis. The sores can happen anywhere on soft tissue – lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, roof or floor of your mouth, and possibly your esophagus. Sores can be painful and make eating, talking, or swallowing uncomfortable.
Lower Your Risk of Developing Mouth Sores.
Although there is no sure way to prevent mouth sores, you can lower your risk. Get a dental check up prior to starting your treatment, to take care of any current issues with your oral health. It is wise to have any cavities or gum disease treated before you start your cancer treatment. Any pain or infection can get worse after cancer treatment begins.
It’s important to keep regular visits to dentist, especially if you develop sores. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth several times a day. Do not use any alcohol-based mouthwashes. Always you a soft bristled toothbrush. If you develop sores, you may need to swap to a super soft toothbrush especially designed for sore or dry mouth. Check the label of your toothpaste and avoid any that have harsh chemicals. Flossing or using interdental brushes should be done daily, especially after eating. Your dentist or hygienist may be able to find you an interdental brush with super soft bristles. Apply a soothing and
calming gel with hyaluronic acid and xylitol on any soft tissue areas of your mouth.
Oral care products with hyaluronic acid are particularly beneficial:
- To reduce bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation.
- Reduces inflammation and irritations.
- Speeds up wound healing.
- HA can hold up to 1000x of its weight in water.
- Stop smoking. Smoking during treatment will make it harder for your mouth to heal.
- Avoid painful foods that are sharp or crunchy. Acid or spicy foods can also make your mouth feel worse. Choose soft foods and cut them into small pieces. Eat foods that are safe to consume at room temperature or warm. Hot or cold foods might be painful. Use a straw for drinking liquids to keep them away from the sores.
- Don’t drink alcohol (or use alcohol-based mouthwash). Alcohol can cause further pain and has a drying effect on soft tissue.
Mouth sores are often an easy way for germs to get into your body and with the combination of cancer treatment, weakening your immune system, a serious infection can happen. Continue cleaning your mouth during and after treatment to lower your risk of infection. You may notice mild bleeding from your mouth when you brush your teeth. Continue cleaning your mouth best you can, with a super soft toothbrush or ask your dentist about a special foam swab. Your healthcare provider may also recommend treatments such as coating agents or topical painkillers (gel-like medicine applied directly on sores) to lower pain or discomfort.
Information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Advise users to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if they're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment
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