How to Maintain Good Dental Health with Cancer

If you are one of the reported 1.4 million people diagnosed with cancer this year, it is a good idea to get a dental evaluation. Your dentist can work with your oncologist to come up with a joint plant to help keep your mouth and teeth as healthy as possible during and after your cancer treatment. It is important to understand that dental complications can also lead to serious infections in different parts of the body—not just your mouth--which you understandably want to avoid.

Dry mouth and changed salivary gland production present potential issues. When you have less saliva, basic tasks such as eating and talking may become difficult. If the mouth muscles lose elasticity, then even your ability to open your mouth will change. Also look out for tender and inflamed gums, which equals potentially more cavities, gingivitis and decay.

Blood is supplied to your teeth via bone marrow. Common cancer treatment regimens such as chemotherapy and radiation alter bone marrow function, which is part of how red and white blood cells are formed.

Great nutrition is especially important during any cancer regime. Yet when patients experience these painful mouth problems, interest in eating may drop off—that makes sense. Similarly, if you get a metallic or bad flavor note when eating, that may sour you on some of your favorite foods. Changes in ability and appetite are worth monitoring so you can get the right foods that your body needs (even if your usual cravings disappear).

While these complications are often triggered by standard cancer treatment, there are many ways to lower the chance of such issues. Get an extra-soft toothbrush and use warm water to rinse. Keep up with flossing daily, and use extra gentle care. If your gums bleed, then floss in the other areas of your mouth.  

Dr. Amores can help you come up with the best dental plan for your cancer treatment.

You Might Also Enjoy...