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How Does Cancer Treatment Affect My Oral Health?

Cancer patients face a litany of challenges during their treatments. Options such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments can cause adverse oral health complications that require attention. The cancer treatments’ side effects include dry mouth, cavities, oral sores, stiff jaws, and changes in taste. In the face of these side effects, you can take steps to mitigate these side effects and have strategies in place to combat each specific issue through the course of your cancer treatments. Consult your dentist, like the gum disease doctors found in Mercer County, NJ, to formulate an oral healthcare plan during your cancer treatments. 

What Can I Do to Prevent Cavities?

The best way to combat these potential side effects is to have a plan to help reduce the likelihood that you will suffer these side effects. Instead of developing more cavities, the best way to prevent this is to continue good dental hygiene habits. Consistently brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly, and avoid overly sugary food and drinks. Of course, if you have already experienced these symptoms, our dentists can help fill your cavities in Mercer County, NJ.

How About Dry Mouth? 

Depending on the type of cancer you receive treatment for, such as those found in your head or neck, your salivary glands can become affected. With decreased production of saliva, you can begin to see increasing instances of dry mouth. Additionally, some chemotherapy drugs can also cause dry mouth as a side effect. You’ll want to consult your dentist about ways you can combat dry mouth and prevent any long term damage to your teeth. Sipping water, chewing sugarless gum, using an alcohol-free mouthwash, and sucking on ice chips are some ways that can help you keep your mouth moist and battle dry mouth. 

Flexing That Stiff Jaw

Radiation treatment for cancers from the neck up can lead to a stiffening of your jaw muscles. A stiff jaw can lead to difficulties with chewing and swallowing your food. A consultation with your dentist and doctor will lead to a series of jaw specific stretches that can help loosen the muscles. 

Treating Oral Sores

Painful oral sores can occur during your cancer treatments. If left unattended, these sores can become infected and create worsening oral health problems that need to be dealt with alongside your ongoing cancer treatments. As soon as you begin to feel a sore develop, let your doctor or dentist know so treatment can start immediately.  

The side effects of life-saving cancer treatments can prove challenging to deal with on top of everything else happening. However, with the right team on your side, you can handle whatever oral health issues may arise during your cancer treatments. Contact Hamilton Dental to learn more about how we can help you during this difficult time!