From all of us at NFD to anyone affected by breast cancer or any other form of cancer
Cancer and dental care, what should you know?
In the recent article Periodontal Disease and Breast Cancer–Response, researchers studied the connection between dental health and the risk of developing breast cancer. Dental care during cancer is essential. If you or someone you know needs more information regarding various cancer forms, visit the American Cancer Society.
Breast cancer treatment does have complications. Complications that are generally experienced relate to oral and overall health and are a result of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You can manage and even prevent some significant oral health problems with proper care. Coordinating dental care during chemotherapy (or any cancer treatment) is critical. Creating a team of physicians not limited to but including your oncologist and dentist can significantly optimize treatment effects. Learn more about chemo and dental problems.
How to Approach Dental Care and Cancer…What forms of treatment can affect oral health?
Any form of treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or even stem cell transplants can affect oral health. Other natural and homeopathic remedies can also cause oral health side effects. As our body begins to lose bone, we also begin losing bone in our mouth. Our teeth sit in bone, and if the level is decreased, loose teeth or even tooth loss can occur. If you or a loved one are going through cancer treatment, it is essential to ensure your gums’ health. Be sure to see our caring family dentists near me in Lincoln, NE.
Dental Care and Cancer…what are some common side effects that cancer treatment can cause?
Dental care and cancer treatment do go hand in hand. Symptoms, or side effects, that you are experiencing can and should be discussed with your Lincoln, NE dentist for cancer patients. An “oncology dentist” is educated about many side effects, including difficulty swallowing, cavities, dry mouth, candida (oral thrush or yeast infections), just to name a few. Visiting with your dentist, whether or not he or she is an oncology dentist, will prove beneficial, both short and long-term. It is known that dental care during chemotherapy is vital.
Always be sure to involve your Lincoln, NE dentist in your cancer treatment plan. As previously mentioned, coordinating care is essential. Once your immune system becomes compromised, your body will not have the ability to heal itself as well as it did before undergoing treatment. After you have a calculated treatment plan laid out by your oncologist, discuss your dental concerns and treatment needs with your dentist. Should you decide to proceed with receiving dental treatment during chemotherapy (or any cancer treatment), be sure to schedule carefully. Allow yourself time to heal after any procedures and before beginning treatment. Be sure to relay any dental concerns and or pending dental treatment to your oncologist. He or she needs to be aware that the mouth is impacted by treatment.
Your oncologist may also have recommendations regarding oral health. They are very familiar with various types of treatment and potential side effects. Since they are familiar with many forms of treatment, it is possible they have seen specific side effects. Therefore, they can help address an issue before it becomes a major concern. Your oncologist and your “Lincoln, NE dentist for cancer patients near me” want to make any fight against cancer as easy as possible.
During chemotherapy or radiation, you can develop mucositis or separated mouth ulcers.
What is the difference between mucositis and mouth ulcers?
Mucositis is the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the mouth usually as an adverse effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
Mucositis affects the whole mouth.
Most ulcers and canker sores are localized and are triggered by stress, injury to the mouth’s soft tissues, or certain foods that are highly acidic.
Whether you have generalized mucositis, localized mouth ulcers, or canker sores, it can be challenging to eat.
Why are mouth ulcers so painful?
They are painful because the lining of the mouth has been stripped away, so the nerves are close to the surface. Ultimately, this means that anything in the mouth, even movement from talking, can irritate the ulcers and cause pain.
What is the best way to treat mouth ulcers or mucositis?
- Using a rinse of baking soda and warm saltwater.
- Placing Milk of Magnesia® directly on the mouth ulcer.
- Using over-the-counter topical anesthetics like Orajel™ or Anbesol®.
- Coconut oil pulling.
- Avoid any mouthwash that contains alcohol.
- Use magic mouthwash for pain control.
- Placing damp tea bags on the mouth ulcer.
- Avoid acidic, salty, or hot foods and drinks.
Coconut oil contains antioxidants, which have been shown to help inflammation. Also, its ability to moisturize skin makes it a powerful weapon against a dry mouth. There is also evidence that coconut oil could help speed up the healing of wounds. Thus, making it a helpful addition to a great oral care routine for chemo patients.
What about magic mouthwash for mouth ulcers?
Some of the most common ingredients are viscous lidocaine, diphenhydramine, antacid, nystatin, and corticosteroids. The administration for magic mouthwash is usually 30 ml every 4–6 hours.
Magic mouthwash may help relieve pain from mouth ulcers and irritation caused by cancer treatment.
What about burning mouth syndrome? Can it happen during chemotherapy or radiation?
Yes. Mucositis can lead to brining mouth syndrome.
Zinc can help ease the symptoms of the burning mouth syndrome. Learn more here.
Learn how we cater to Dental Office Infection Control.
Dental Care and Cancer: Receiving Dental Care during Chemotherapy is Essential.
Below are some commonly asked questions about dental care during chemotherapy.
Go the extra mile and ask questions. Get specific details about dental care during chemotherapy. All questions asked of your Lincoln, NE dentist for cancer and your oncologist are entirely valid. Simple questions such as whether or not it is safe to floss to what may be potential long-term side effects are all important. Getting answers will not only help you while receiving treatment but after treatment as well. If you are in need of dental care during chemotherapy, contact us, or visit our team of caring family dentists near me. Don’t be shy and find out why dental care and cancer treatment go together. You’ve got this, don’t let cancer be the boss!
Other common topics and links to learn more:
Can you whiten your teeth during chemotherapy?
Learn about teeth whitening for sensitive teeth.
What is a dental oncologist?
We’re all about simple, so we’ll break it down. Dentistry is an area of medicine that focuses on teeth and mouth. Oncology is an area of medicine that focuses on cancer management and treatment. What most don’t realize, however, is that cancer treatment can significantly impact the mouth. For that reason, some dentists are trained as dental oncologists. Thus, making them extremely knowledgeable and well-suited to care for patients undergoing all forms of cancer treatment. While the dentists at Nebraska Family Dentistry aren’t technically dental oncologists but rather general dentists, they are still extremely knowledgeable about caring for patients who have cancer and are undergoing treatment. If you are looking for a “dental oncologist,” we would love to help you. Learn more about dental oncologists here.
Can you whiten your teeth while doing chemotherapy or radiation?
Your teeth and mouth could have mouth ulcers, and whitening may not be the best during chemotherapy. If you currently do not have any sores, ulcers, or a dry mouth, feel free to see our dentists to receive a FREE take-home Professional Teeth Whitening kit. You can also take advantage of this whitening offer after your cancer treatment is complete. We welcome You to visit our office before, during, or after your cancer treatment.
The information on this page was written by Dr. Kathryn Alderman.
This gentle “Lincoln, NE dentist for cancer patients near me” says:
“Dentistry combines many of my passions. It’s not just about teeth – dentistry is about helping others change their lives through science, skill, and art! Dentistry is engineering and construction with a calling for ministry and healing. General dentistry for me has always included cosmetic dentistry. So, being a dentist is like being the ultimate interior decorator! I am so happy to have this opportunity to welcome you to our office, and I pledge I will give you 110%. I am here to provide you with excellent care in all aspects of treatment, dentally and emotionally.”
You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or her partners, online 24/7 at a Nebraska Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist for cancer patients near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Communities include Waverly, Davey, Raymond, Garland, Ceresco, Greenwood, and Malcolm, Roca, Bennet, Firth, Crete, Hickman, and many more!
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