- Cancer is one of the major non communicable diseases that has become major public health problem and leading cause of death causing great threat to world health.Among various type of cancers ,oral cancer is becoming more common.Cancer patients develop complications that affect the mouth.
- Patients can develop mild to severe side effects including mouth sores,infection,dry mouth,sensitive gums and jaw pain.Cancer and its treatment like chemotherapy,can weaken your immune system.If your mouth is not kept as healthy as possible prior to cancer treatment,you may be more susceptible to infection.
- Radiation therapy of head and neck can damage salivary glands which can cause thick,sticky saliva ad extreme dry mouth which in turn can increase chances of tooth decay and infection.
- Oral care before,during and after cancer treatment can prevent or reduce the incidence and severity of oral complications enhancing both patient survival and quality of life.
Taking care of your teeth before treatment:
- visit your dentist.
- Brush regularly.
- Rinse your mouth often.
- Say no to tobacco and alcohol.
- Eat nutritious and balanced food.
Taking care of your teeth during treatment:
- Whenever dental treatment is necessary,oncologist has to be consulted before the dental procedure including scaling as associated risk of infection and complications might be present.
- Recommendations for treating dry mouth and other complications include-sip water frequently,chew sugar free candy,use saliva substitute spray,gel or saliva stimulant.
- Take precautions to protect your gums and cheek against trauma.Use topical anesthetics or analgesics for mouth sores and oral pain.
Taking care of your teeth after treatment:
- High dose radiation has life long risk of dry mouth,decayed tooth and osteonecrosis. So avoid invasive surgical procedures including extractions that involve irradiated bone.
- Good nutrition,oral hygiene and fluoride application are important especially for patients with salivary gland dysfunction.
- Unfortunately some can never wear dentures because of friable tissues and xerostomia.
- Consult dentist or physician if you are experiencing persistent sore throat,difficulty in swallowing hoarseness of voice,ear pain and enlarged lymph nodes.