Cancer And Oral Health
Cancer And Oral Health
- Most common manifestations in childhood cancer patients are due to the ongoing chemotherapy.
- However, by maintaining a good oral hygiene practice, these problems can be avoided as well.
- Mucositis: Burning sensation in the mouth. Cannot be localised to any particular site.
- Ulcers: A discontinuity in the lining of the mouth causing pain, difficulty in chewing, swallowing difficulty, burning sensation, discomfort
- Dental decay: Black/ yellowish white spots on teeth due to accumulation of plaque and soft food remnants. Sometimes it could be deep, involving the pulp of the tooth, causing pain and difficulty in consuming hot and / or cold food.
- Bleeding gums and foul odour : This occurs due to the accumulation of plaque and soft food deposits coupled with lack of proper oral hygiene resulting in swollen gums, thinning of the outermost layer and bleeding
Oral Care before treatment is initiated
Ideally, an oral health check up has to be done before chemotherapy is initiated. The following needs to be ruled out-
- Active decay
- Bleeding gums
- Redness and burning sensation in the mouth
- Ulcers in the mouth
- White fungal infection/ white scriptable patches
- Any other obvious abnormalities
A visit to the dentist has to be arranged where filling of decayed teeth, cleaning of all teeth, application of fluoride varnish, sealing of pits and fissures on molar teeth and Instructions on maintenance of good oral hygiene during treatment are given.
Oral Hygiene during the course of treatment
- Brushing teeth- either by self or with the assistance of the caregiver, at least twice a dayonce in the morning and definitely before sleeping every night
- Rinsing using water after every meal
- Avoiding soft, sweet and sticky food between meals
- Avoiding consumption of aerated drinks and sweetened beverages and canned fruit juices
- Application of a pain relief gel at the site of ulcer/ mucositis
- Application of mouth paint at the site of fungal infection
- Rinsing the mouth and gargling using diluted povidove iodine solution (1 part povidove iodine and 1 part water)
- Reporting to the consulting doctor of any change in the oral cavity including ulcers, burning sensation and bleeding
- Consulting the dentist on referral and getting dental treatment done for dental decay, bleeding gums- like fillings and cleaning
Cancer Treatment and dental care after treatment
It is important to maintain oral hygiene even after the completion of all the protocols and the maintenance cycles of the chemotherapy. This includes
- Oral hygiene-brushing and rinsing
- Usage of povidove iodine and water for rinsing and gargling
- Consulting the dentist for completion of treatment and regular assessment of oral health
Want to Know More?
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