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Chemotherapy and Dry Mouth

by Smart Mouth

Cancer treatments, while often lifesaving, can bring about new health issues for your patients to contend with. Receiving chemotherapy or other treatments may make them more prone to oral side effects and complications for several reasons.

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy impede the growth of new cells. While cells in the lining of your patients’ mouths are normally fast-growing, treatment may slow them down.
  • Treatments may alter the balance of normal, healthy bacteria present in the mouth, damaging the salivary glands, which produce saliva.

  

Why is Dry Mouth a Concern?

Without enough saliva, bacteria and other organisms in the mouth can grow too quickly, causing mouth infections, sores and a variety of dental issues. Saliva washes away food particles left in the mouth. Dry mouth can cause a buildup of acids, leading to gum disease and cavities. One of the most common infections is thrush. Thrush is a fungal (yeast) infection that can grow in the mouth and throat, causing white lesions on the tongue or inner cheeks.

 

Staying Ahead of Issues

As your patients undergo treatment for cancer, it’s important to address any symptoms of dry mouth they may be experiencing, especially if they’re having trouble eating, drinking, swallowing, sleeping.

Symptoms include:

  • Consistently feeling thirsty
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of taste
  • Thick saliva
  • Dry lips, cracks or cuts in the corners of your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Soreness in the mouth
  • Tooth decay

 

What can your patients do if you’re experiencing dry mouth?

  • Talk to their cancer team about treatments and care.
  • Take small bites and chew their food well.
  • Add liquids to solid foods.
  • Take frequent sips of water between meals throughout the day.
  • Keep lips moist with a balm.
  • Suck on sugarless candy to stimulate saliva.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to moisten room air, especially at night.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.
  • Avoid hot, spicy, or acidic foods.
  • Avoid store-bought mouthwashes containing alcohol.

If your patients are experiencing dry mouth from cancer treatments, consider recommending SmartMouth. SmartMouth’s activated oral rinse uses a patented zinc ion technology to provide relief from the symptoms and discomfort of dry mouth without alcohol, and while it’s clinical strength, no prescription is required.

 

Connect with us to learn more about how SmartMouth can help your patients manage dry mouth and maintain good oral health as they undergo lifesaving treatments.