Oral health with Chemo and Radiation

Approximately 18.1 million people diagnosed with cancer per year. With 56% of patients receivingchemo/radiation to treat and manage the cancer. (cancer.gov, 2018) October is breast cancer awarenessmonth so what better time to talk about oral health in relation to chemo/radiation. Most people do notknow that chem and radiation can have a large impact on your oral health. As health care professionalswho focus on oral health we are here to answer and questions you may have. Some guidelines tonavigating oral health with chemo and/or radiation:

  • First tell your providers (dentist and hygienist) when you are diagnosed
  • Ask your oncologist when they recommend dental treatment during your chem/radiation. It willbe beneficial to seek more frequent dental care during chem/radiation
  • Ask your dental provider for Fluoride trays to be worn during chem and radiation, this can helpcombat the increased risk for cavities
  • DO NOT skip the in-office Fluoride treatment
  • You may experience a dry mouth as a result of the medications: look for xylitol containingproducts and Biotene gels and mouth rinses
  • Keep great homecare habits (Brushing 2x/day for 2 min, flossing daily, and alcohol-free mouthwash)
  • Burning mouth and or sores can establish due to oral mucosal changes as a result of chemo andradiation
  • Changes in taste can happen
  • If you experience any of these side effects call your dental care provider as we may be able to help youalleviate any symptoms and protect your oral health.



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