Cancer Treatment and Oral Health
Before Your Cancer Treatment
Your dentist is an important member of the team treating your cancer. When possible, see your dentist for a thorough check-up at least two weeks before your cancer treatments begin. This will allow for a prompt identification and treatment of any existing infections, problem teeth or other important conditions.
Make sure you tell us that you’ll be undergoing cancer treatment. We’ll want to update your dental records and get a phone number for the physician who’ll be handling your cancer therapy.
During Your Cancer Treatment
Continue to brush your teeth, gently, twice day day, unless we recommend otherwise. Use fluoride toothpaste. Patients who receive cancer treatments to the head and neck sometimes find that they can no longer tolerate the flavor of their regular toothpaste. If this happens, find another brand that won't irritate your mouth.
Gently floss your teeth once a day. If your gums are sore or bleeding, avoid those areas, but continue to floss your other teeth until the condition improves.
Rinse your mouth several times a day with a solution of one teaspoon of baking soda and 1/8th teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Follow this with a plain water rinse. This is particularly helpful if you experience stomach upset following cancer treatment.
If you develop dry mouth, we can recommend a saliva replacement. Also, sucking on sugar-free gum and sugar-free mints can help.
Eat a balanced diet. If your sense of taste is impaired, be careful not to compensate by adding too much sugar or salt to your meals.
Avoid tobacco and alcohol and schedule regular dental check-ups!
We’re Here to Help!
We who are involved in your care want to make sure your treatment is as safe and as effective as possible!