Mouth problems during cancer treatment – Macmillan Cancer Support

Mouth problems during cancer treatment – Macmillan Cancer Support

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[Sound of television in background] Some chemotherapy treatments can irritate
the lining of your mouth and make it sore. When this happens your mouth may become inflamed
and you may get mouth ulcers. It’s called mucositis and your doctor will
be able to tell you whether your treatment causes it.
Here are some tips to help you keep your mouth as healthy as possible during your treatment.
Pay a visit to your dentist. He or she will be able to help you to get
your teeth and gums in good condition before your treatment begins.
If you wear dentures, ask your dentist to check that they fit properly and they won’t
cause you any problems. Keep your mouth as clean as you can. By doing
this you will reduce the risk of infection and help your mouth to recover from your treatment
quicker. Always try to clean your teeth or dentures
after every meal and last thing at night. Be kind to your mouth by using a soft toothbrush
and a mild flavoured toothpaste. Ask your doctor or nurse whether it’s okay
for you to use dental floss. If brushing your teeth makes you feel sick
try using an alcohol-free mouthwash instead. You may be prescribed one by your doctor.
Make sure you use the mouthwash as often as you’re instructed to.
This will help stop your mouth from becoming too sore.
Check your mouth every day. Your nurse at the hospital will be able to
show you how to do this. Take a good look at your gums, your tongue
and the lining of your mouth. If you spot any redness, swelling, bleeding,
ulcers or white patches let your doctor know. Chemotherapy may make your mouth feel drier
than usual. Try to drink at least one and a half litres,
that’s about three pints of fluid every day.
When your mouth is sore eating can be difficult. Choosing soft food, such as porridge, scrambled
eggs, soups and pasta can help. It’s also worth adding sauces to your meals
to moisten the food. Sucking on some crushed ice or an ice lolly
can help to soothe a sore mouth Some types of food can irritate your mouth
and are best avoided during your treatment. Steer clear of anything that’s too crunchy,
spicy, salty or acidic. Alcohol and tobacco can aggravate a sore mouth
too so stay away from them if you can. Tell your doctor if your mouth is sore.
They can check for infection and prescribe a medication or mouthwash to help ease the
pain. We hope that these tips help you cope with
any mouth problems that your chemotherapy may cause.
Your mouth will get better when your treatment is over [Announcer] For information, help, or if you just want to chat, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 or visit

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