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You probably know many of the side effects of chemotherapy, even if you haven’t started it yet. However, what is not common knowledge is that over a third of cancer patients can also develop dental health complications like pain in the mouth and gums, persistent dry mouth, a burning, peeling or swelling tongue, oral infection, and a transformation in taste.

Dry mouth can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums because saliva isn’t there to clean out bad bacteria. To combat this problem, try to drink a lot of water, suck on (but don’t bite down on) ice chips, and chew sugarless gum. You can even use a saliva substitute, which you can find online and at the occasional drugstore without the need for a prescription.

We recommend that you brush your teeth with an extra soft-bristled toothbrush after every meal and at bedtime. If your mouth hurts, try running the brush under warm water first. Use fluoride toothpaste. You’ll also want to floss gently every day. Avoid any particularly sore areas.

If your mouth feels sore, watch what you consume. Try to eat soft, moist foods like cooked cereals, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. If you want to eat tougher foods, try softening them with sauce, broths, yogurt or other liquids. Avoid crunchy or spicy foods, extremely sugary foods, and alcohol and tobacco.

We hope that these ideas help you to be healthier while you are going through a hard experience. If you need help with anything at all, don’t hesitate to call Oasis Family Dentistry in Gilbert, Arizona at 480-926-4498 to talk to a member of our dental staff. We can set up an appointment to meet with Dr. Manieka L. Green as needed. We’re here to support you.