The importance of good oral care before, during and after cancer treatments
If you are undergoing cancer treatment, you may experience a variety of complaints. In addition to symptoms such as nausea and general malaise, you may also have to deal with changes and problems in the mouth. Some chemos and radiation therapies have a significant impact on your oral health. Because of the intensive treatments, the bacterial flora in the mouth changes and there is a greater chance of problems. This requires different oral care: before, during and after the treatment process.
The side effects of cancer treatments can affect your mouth, teeth, and salivary glands, causing you to experience the following symptoms:
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Painful mouth
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Reduced or changed taste. Chemo can cause an unpleasant chemical or metallic taste.
- Oral fungal infection
- Mouth sores
Most cancer patients will have to deal at some point with inflamed mucous membranes (mucositis). This inflammatory reaction is caused by damage to the oral mucosa and is exacerbated by chemo or radiation. Mucositis is painful and increases the risk of infections.
Sufficient saliva is essential for effective mouth function
Dry mouth is a regular occurrence in cancer patients who are being treated. In addition to feeling uncomfortable, it reduces the mouth’s defensive function. Sufficient saliva is essential for your mouth to function correctly. Reduced saliva production can cause problems with talking, swallowing, eating and drinking.
Keep mouth and mucous membranes in optimal condition
Oral problems not only affect your mouth, but can also reduce overall immunity. For example, many people have to deal with malnutrition during their treatment process. Fortunately, this can partly be prevented by keeping the mouth and mucous membranes in optimal condition. With a healthy mouth, eating and drinking becomes easier and food tastes better.
It is therefore extra important to take good care of your mouth during the treatment period, reducing the risk of unpleasant side effects during and after your treatments.
Here’s how to take care of your mouth during treatment in 4 steps
Inform your dentist and/or dental hygienist about your treatment plan, medication and possible side effects. Talk to each other as soon as possible and schedule a check-up appointment. Preferably before your cancer treatment starts.
Make sure your mouth is in optimal condition before you start the treatment:
- visit your dentist for a cleaning and check-up.
- brush with an extra soft toothbrush
- rinse preventively with blue®m oxygen fluid to prevent irritation.
Apply blue®m oral gel to sores in your mouth and rinse with blue®m oxygen fluid. The dental chewing gum stimulates saliva production, which works wonders if you experience a dry mouth. blue®m dental gum can also help keep your mouth moist. If symptoms persist or get worse, contact your health care professional.
Keep brushing and rinsing according to instructions. Be as gentle as possible and visit the dental practice more often. You can also stimulate saliva production with blue®m dental gum.
Read some oncology patient experiences below
“The blue®m products have helped Manon a lot in her final stage of life.”
Blue®m products can also offer comfort to patients in the palliative phase of treatment. Silvia Verhoef, dental assistant in Abcoude, lost her 26-year-old daughter Manon to cancer.
“Before my daughter Manon died of cancer in 2018, an oral hygienist advised her to start using blue®m. She said that blue®m works very well for cancer patients, because it can cure or even prevent inflammation. blue®m’s oxygen fluid and toothpaste have helped Manon a lot. Despite the heavy chemo treatments, she fortunately never suffered from inflammation, so she was able to enjoy good food until her last day.”
‘’I’ve got it!’’
“The foam is really a great product. It gives me a little bit more taste instead of continuous metal taste…. So nice!”