Cancer and Your Oral Health

Cancer Patient

More than one-third of all cancer patients develop complications that affect the mouth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. These complications can be mild to severe and can include mouth sores, infection, dry mouth, metallic taste, sensitive gums and jaw pain. Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, so we are here to make sure you know what to expect.  Cancer and its treatments, like chemotherapy, can weaken your immune system. If your mouth is not as healthy as possible prior to your cancer treatment, you may be more susceptible to infection. If the infection is serious enough, it can delay your cancer treatment.  In addition, radiation therapy, especially in the area of the head and neck, can damage salivary glands which can cause thick, sticky saliva and extreme dry mouth.  Dry mouth leads to increased tooth decay especially at the gum level. It is important to have your mouth as healthy as possible before cancer treatment begins.  If you have not had a cleaning and exam within the past 6 months, please schedule as soon as possible.  During your treatment, you need to be diligent with your home care and we can help when you are just too tired to focus on your mouth.  After treatment, you may have chronic dry mouth and easily get more cavities so again we are here to keep your oral health as good as it can possibly be.  Come in and we'll develop a plan for you!