Impacts of Cancer Treatment on Dental Health

Image of a concerned woman.

What are common dental side effects of cancer treatment?

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation have side effects that affect the mouth including:

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How can I care for my teeth and mouth during cancer treatments?

In addition to daily dental care tips for natural teeth or care tips for dentures , you can:

  • Use pain medication and dry mouth products as prescribed by a health professional.
  • If you are experiencing swallowing problems :
    • Toothpaste should not be used, just moisten the toothbrush with water.
    • Clean your mouth prior to brushing by swabbing with the corner of a soft moistened cloth.

Additional tips for dentures:

  • If there is soreness in the mouth, dentures may have to be left out until the tissues heal.
  • Dentures should be labelled with the owner’s name. A dentist or denturist can provide this service.
  • Clean cheeks, tongue and roof of mouth with a soft toothbrush at least once a day.
  • Regular monitor the dentures for fit. Full or partial dentures that are loose can prevent proper chewing and can be accidentally swallowed.

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What do I need to tell my dental professional?

  • It is important to consult with a dentist prior to, during and after cancer treatments.
  • Speak to a dentist, physician or pharmacist about pain medication, dry mouth products and agents that will soothe tissues. If medications are prescribed, always follow the directions as specified.
  • Ask your dental professional about types of toothbrushes, toothpaste and techniques to assist with daily oral care.

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