If you will soon be undergoing chemotherapy, you may be wondering how the treatment will affect your dental health. Below is more information on how chemotherapy affects the mouth and gums, and what you can do to take care of your oral health during and after treatment.
Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells. In doing so, they may also harm normal cells, including cells in the mouth. Unfortunately, chemotherapy drugs can cause a number of side effects with your teeth, gums, mouth, and salivary glands. These side effects can be painful and make it difficult to eat, talk, and swallow. They include:
If the side effects are particularly severe, you may not be able to keep up with your cancer treatment. Your doctor may need to cut back on your cancer treatment or even stop it. On the positive side, if you experience any of these side effects, you will most likely only experience them during treatment or shortly after treatment ends.
You may be surprised to learn that your dentist is an important part of your cancer treatment. If you go to the dentist a few weeks before chemotherapy begins, you can help significantly diminish the severity of these side effects, and possibly even prevent them entirely.
Side effects often happen because a person’s mouth is not healthy before chemotherapy starts. Not all mouth problems can be avoided, but the better your oral hygiene is, the better chance you have of avoiding side effects and staying on your cancer treatment schedule.
It is important to see the dentist at least two weeks before chemotherapy begins. If you have already started chemotherapy and didn’t go to a dentist, see one as soon as possible.
If you live in the Hudson NC area and will shortly begin a chemotherapy treatment, we at Hudson Family Dentistry want to be a part of your care and recovery plan. Please schedule an appointment with us today so that we can help you and monitor your oral health during your treatment. Our friendly, compassionate team is here for you every step of the way during this challenging time.