Many people are shocked to learn that chemotherapy treatment can lead to a number of dental side effects. Below is an overview of the dental issues you may experience while undergoing chemotherapy, and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms.
What Dental Issues Can Chemotherapy Cause?
There are a number of side effects associated with chemotherapy, and some of them can even affect your gums, teeth, and tongue. It's important to keep in mind that everyone responds differently to chemotherapy, and your side effects may be different from the side effects of another patient.
If you're actively undergoing chemotherapy, you may experience such side effects as dry mouth, swollen and painful gums, sensitive teeth, a swollen, peeling, or burning tongue, and even infection. You may even find that during the course of your treatment, and even a few months after treatment has stopped, that your tastes have changed.
What Can You Do to Alleviate These Side Effects?
Many of the side effects associated with chemotherapy can be addressed individually.
For example, if you're suffering from a dry mouth, be sure to stay hydrated and always keep a lollipop or other type of candy on hand to keep your mouth moist. If your gums or tongue is sore, stick to foods that are soft and moist, such as oatmeal and mashed potatoes, and rinse your mouth out after eating to prevent foods from sticking to your teeth, gums, or tongue. For all chemotherapy patients, it's best to avoid foods which can lead to cuts in the mouth, such as tortilla chips, because open cuts will increase your risk of infection.
When Should You See a Dentist?
It's best to receive regular dental care throughout your chemotherapy treatment, and it's even recommended to have a visit with your dentist a few weeks prior to beginning chemotherapy.
Aside from keeping up with your regularly scheduled appointments, be sure to visit a dentist if you're dealing with pain or sensitivity in your teeth and gums. Your dentist can work with you and your oncologist to create a pain management plan that will keep you happy and your mouth healthy.
Remember, while side effects such as the above mentioned are common, there are many options available to help you to deal with the pain and discomfort. To learn more about dental issues associated with chemotherapy, make an appointment with your dentist today. Contact a business, such as Pike Dentistry, for more information.