The incidence of cancer has increased in Spain. In fact, one in two men and one in thee women will suffer from cancer along their lifetime. There numbers have been published by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology and probably, you have heard them before in the media during these previous days. After the international celebration of the World Cancer Day, which is held since 2000, Ortiz-Vigón Clinic would like to seize the opportunity to raise awareness of our oral health in case we are getting treatment to fight cancer.
The most important factors to be considered in these types of situations are two: the specific cancer treatment and patient’s quality of life. The last point mentioned before, should not be forgotten because some of the therapies carried out with cancer have a global impact on health. That is the reason why it is so important to keep cooperation and communication between the professionals of the diverse health fields.
What complications may occur?
In particular, the mouth is highly susceptible to chemotherapy’s and radiotherapy’s toxic effects. The most common side effects are:
- Pain and discomfort in the mouth.
- Ulcers and sores.
- Dry mouth.
- Tongue’s burning feeling, scaling and inflammation.
- Multiple caries and periodontitis.
- Increased risk of infections.
- Altered taste.
It is important to prevent from the complication mentioned above. Therefore, they can produce problems when it comes to eating, and can even lead to stop the oncologic treatment. These problems may be solved by taking care our oral cavity as well as following our dentist’s advice.
Tips to take care of your mouth during an oncologic treatment
First of all, and before starting the treatment, it is recommended to visit your dentist so he/she can conduct a medical check and foresee the potential complications that may require dental treatment. Moreover, patients have the possibility to follow some recommendations which can be carried out on their own and help with the side effects of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
- Keep the mouth well moisturized. Besides drinking a lot of water, licking ice cubes may help.
- Brush gums, tongue and teeth carefully, without putting so much pressure. If necessary, use a softer toothbrush as well as non-irritating toothpaste. It is also good to rinse several times at a day but always with non-alcoholic products.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste.
- If you wear dentures and during the cancer treatment you feel they do not more match, you should visit your dentist in order to make the necessary arrangements and prevent pressure wounds.
- Eating soft and warm food may be a good option in case you have mouth sores. If they prevent you from eating, you should see your doctor.
Finally, it should be considered that after chemotherapy we should wait six months to receive an aggressive dental treatment and one year in the case of radiotherapy.