October is an important month for breast cancer fighters and survivors. Here at the beginning of breast cancer awareness month, we’d like to take a look at how your oral health is affected by the common cancer treatments of radiation and chemotherapy. Regardless of the type of cancer you might be familiar with (after all, breast cancer makes up a small number of the total cancer diagnoses in our country), oral health is greatly affected by the treatment. Below we’ve put together a list of things you can do to help keep your mouth healthy so that you can fight cancer with every part of your body.
1) See Your Dentist Early and Often
One small infection can halt your chemo treatment. It’s important for us to ensure that your gums stay healthy before and during your chemotherapy. With routine appointments and good oral health care, you can keep yourself free of infection and able to fight.
2) Keep Your Mouth Hydrated
One of the side effects of chemo is a dry, sore mouth. Be proactive by drinking plenty of water or eating ice chips. You can also chew sugar free gum or sugar free candy to stimulate the production of saliva.
3) Avoid Painful Foods
Your mouth will indeed be sore. Some days will be worse than others. Be prepared with soft, cool foods that are easy to eat. Practice taking smaller bites of food and avoid foods with sharp edges. Avoid foods that are overly sour, acidic, bitter, or sweet as these foods might irritate your mouth.
Oral health care is difficult to remember with everything else going on during chemotherapy treatment, but it is extremely important to make it a priority. Chemotherapy makes it easy to get an infection, and an infection can stop your treatment altogether. Contact us to set up an appointment to learn more about the relationship between oral health and chemotherapy. We’d love to walk with you through this journey and see you through until you are healthy once more!