More than one-third of all cancer patients develop complications that affect the mouth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. These mild to severe side effects can include mouth sores, infection, dry mouth, sensitive gums and jaw pain.
Cancer and its treatments, like chemotherapy, can weaken your immune system. If your mouth is not as healthy as possible prior to your cancer treatment, you may be more susceptible to infection. If the infection is serious enough, it can delay your cancer treatment.
In addition, radiation therapy, especially in the area of the head and neck, can damage salivary glands which can cause thick, sticky saliva and extreme dry mouth. A dry mouth can increase your chances of tooth decay and infection.
Your dentist can evaluate your dental health and discuss which treatment options you should consider prior to starting cancer treatment. By treating areas of concern you may reduce possible dental side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation. Some treatment options may include fluoride treatments to prevent cavities, filling existing cavities, treating gum disease, removing infected teeth or restoring crowns or bridge work to ensure you will be able to chew your food.
Below are some of the most common side effects during and after cancer treatment
Your mouth health is an important part of your overall health. Our dentists at the Senior Dental Center are ready to help and be part of your cancer care team. If you or your loved one is about to start cancer treatment or is experiencing any side effects during or after treatment, please contact us at 760-280-2270 to request an appointment at our office so we can help.