Here are some quick tips for care for your mouth while undergoing cancer therapy:
After vomiting, your mouth may feel acidic and sour from the hydrochloric acid that has regurgitated into your mouth. Before reaching for that toothbrush and toothpaste, consider rinsing your mouth with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of lukewarm water to neutralize the pH of your mouth. Rinse your mouth afterward with water and then brush your teeth.
2. Sore throat & mouth
Mouth sores are extremely common, affecting 40% of patients who undergo chemotherapy. Sore throats are a common side effect of head and neck radiation therapy. To help infection, try rinsing your mouth with warm salt water throughout the day to keep your mouth clean. It is important to visit your dental oncologist or another member of the oncology team if you develop mouth sores during your treatment regimen.
Brush, brush, brush. Make sure to at least follow the rules of two: brush your teeth twice a day for two and a half minutes. Ideally, with reduced salivary flow, you should try to brush your teeth after each meal as well as before bedtime with a fluoridated toothpaste. If you find traditional toothpaste too caustic, try a fluoridated sodium laureth sulfate free toothpaste or speak with your dentist about a prescription strength fluoridated toothpaste.
4. Dry mouth
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Keep your mouth moist by drinking water often and consider using over the counter salivary substitutes. Additionally, avoid alcoholic mouthwashes and drinking alcoholic beverages.