It is a well-known fact that cancer treatments can be tough on your oral health. In fact, studies show that as many as one out of every three cancer patients will develop oral complications during treatment. For some, these side effects can impact both the quality of life as well as the outcome of the cancer treatment.
Scheduling a comprehensive dental examination with your Smithfield, NC dentist should be the first step in preventing oral discomfort and dental disease. Prior to beginning cancer treatment, patients should be free from dental disease such as tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Once cancer therapy begins, it will be important to continue with a thorough oral hygiene plan. Since chemotherapy and radiation treatments are known to induce dry mouth, patients are at an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease. A high-strength fluoride gel may be prescribed to fight cavities, and an antibacterial mouth rinse may be recommended for the reduction of oral bacteria.
Brushing and flossing will be more important than ever, since the body’s immune system may be significantly weakened and ineffective against bacterial plaque or biofilm.
Radiation and chemotherapy can affect the lining of the mouth as well as the salivary glands. In light of these changes, many patients experience painful mouth ulcers and dry mouth. This makes eating and speaking nearly impossible. To prevent discomfort and a negative nutritional impact, remember to drink lots of water, avoid beverages and mouth rinses that contain alcohol, or consider using a moisturizing saliva substitute as necessary. There are also medications that can stimulate salivary production. These may be prescribed by your dentist or your oncologist.
Cancer therapy requires a team approach. For the best outcome, the patient, the family, the oncologist, and the dentist will need to communicate openly and consistently.
To incorporate your dentist in Smithfield, NC into your healthcare team, call to schedule an appointment today.