Though cancer treatments are meant to be helpful, they can also cause unwanted reactions throughout your entire body, including your mouth. When it comes to this particular body region, you’re in luck! With a bit of knowledge and guidance, you can limit your risk of developing negative oral side effects caused by common cancer therapies.
Your first step is to schedule a visit with your Tampa dentist one month before any cancer therapy begins. Thirty days allows sufficient time for recovery should you require a dental procedure. During your appointment, the dentist will examine both hard and soft mouth tissue, looking for possible sources of infection.
Let your dentist know what type of cancer treatment you are undergoing as it will help him monitor potential side effects throughout your therapy. If at all possible, arrange a dental visit before any and all treatments to identify and resolve dental problems. These consultations are also used to catch and prevent any current issues from completely emerging.
Between visits with your Tampa dentist, it’s vital that you take care of yourself. Maintaining an optimal and consistent oral hygiene routine can help minimize and may even prevent oral problems. Although, a few modifications are necessary. For instance, when choosing a toothbrush, opt for one with extra-soft bristles. Also, when brushing your teeth, use light pressure. In addition to flossing every morning and evening, make sure to brush after every meal. Floss every single day but avoid flossing any areas that are tender or may be bleeding. Stay away from spicy, acidic or high-sugar foods. Alcohol should be avoided, as should tobacco.
In addition to following the above advice, you should also be on the lookout for a few common side effects of cancer therapy. After radiation treatment, you may experience jaw stiffness. Performing a basic jaw exercise may help you find relief. Start with a closed mouth and slowly open your mouth as wide as possible before gradually returning your mouth to a closed position. Repeat this full movement twenty times, three times a day.
When it comes to chemotherapy, painful mouth sores and dry mouth are potential reactions, as are infection and changes in taste perception. In addition to discomfort, a reduction in saliva intensifies your risk of tooth decay. If you suffer from dry mouth, your Tampa dentist may talk to you about using artificial saliva or a special treatment of fluoride gel to strengthen your teeth. Rinsing your teeth often will help keep food and debris off your teeth and gums, reducing your risk of developing a cavity.
Once your cancer treatment has started, be sure to check your mouth every day for changes. As soon as you notice any issues, contact North Pointe Dental Associates to schedule an appointment.