If you've started chemotherapy, you may find that the treatments create a dry, uncomfortable feeling in your mouth. The tissue in your mouth can be sensitive to the effects of many medications, especially chemotherapy drugs. In addition to reaching out to your dentist when you start chemotherapy, there are a few things you should keep a watch for. Here's a look at some of the things you may struggle with and tips to deal with them.
Chemotherapy-Related Dental Problems
Chemotherapy treatments lower your blood cell counts, which can disrupt your circulation. Over time, this can damage your jaw bone and increase the risk of bleeding and bruising in your gums. Sometimes, chemotherapy medications can make you more vulnerable to gum irritation and tooth pain because of heightened sensitivities.
In addition, chemotherapy can lead to vomiting and nausea, which can damage your tooth enamel. This can expose dentin, which may cause long-term damage to your teeth. You might even notice that you become more prone to gum tissue swelling and the development of mouth sores during chemotherapy treatment.
Tips to Combat Some of These Problems
- Visit Your Dentist Regularly – Your dentist may request that you visit more frequently if you're undergoing chemotherapy. The more frequent visits are important, because they provide an opportunity for professional evaluation of your tooth and gum condition.
- Brush Consistently – Don't skip your brushing routine during chemotherapy treatments. Make sure that you brush several times a day, particularly after eating and after any instances of vomiting. This ensures that your tooth enamel is as protected as possible. Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush though, so you don't irritate your gums further.
- Drink Plenty of Water – As hard as it may be to keep things down, make sure you're drinking as much water as possible. The hydration is important, but the water also helps to flush bacteria out of your mouth. This reduces your risk of infections while your blood cell counts are low.
- Deal With Your Dentures – If you wear dentures, you'll want to talk with your denturist about making sure that you have a proper fit. Any time dentures shift against sensitive gums, it will lead to further irritation and possible sores. This can leave you vulnerable to infections.
The more attentive you are to your dental health during chemotherapy, the less damage you're likely to suffer through the course of the treatment. Talk to your dentist or Westwood Dental Clinic today about any other steps you should take to protect your mouth.