Oral & Vision Health Blog

Dental Care during Cancer Treatment

Any form of cancer is a terrible – and fighting it requires all of your emotional and physical strength. It is easy to develop tunnel vision as your treatment plan becomes your top priority. You sign endless consent forms advising you of all the possible side effects of treatment – none of which feel as important as winning this battle for your life.

However, it is important to think about the quality of your life after cancer too. Thinking about the future is a positive step in your cancer treatment process. One thing you can do for yourself is to be extra diligent about your dental care during cancer treatment. If possible, meet with your dentist before you begin your cancer treatment to set up a plan together. Doing this will make it easier to know how you can move forward with your oral care during this chaotic time

Many chemotherapies and radiation therapies prescribed to treat cancer can damage oral tissues and weaken your teeth. It is not uncommon to discover multiple cavities in your teeth at the end of cancer treatment. You can try to prevent this by brushing your teeth more often.

Consider brushing your teeth after every meal, and even after drinks that aren't water. It may seem extreme, but your teeth do not have the natural protection you are used to when undergoing cancer treatments. Proper attention to your teeth and gums is needed to help stay healthy. Flossing every day is more important than ever. Also, you will want to keep your mouth moist throughout the day, which you can do by rinsing your mouth and staying hydrated.

Before anything, check with your oncologist before scheduling dental appointments. They may need to check your platelet counts before cleanings. They also need to clear you for any major dental procedures that could be impacted by your cancer treatments. It is possible that you may be prescribed antibiotics before any dental procedures to prevent infections that could interfere with your cancer treatment.

Needless to say, your teeth need attention – and if you’re in this situation, they’ll need a little extra love. If you, or someone you know is battling cancer, let them know the importance of proper dental care during this difficult time. It’ll be worth it when it’s all over.


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