Tips for Coping with Mouth Sores after Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can save your life, but it can be difficult to go through. One of the common side effects of chemotherapy is mouth sores. Coping with mouth sores during chemotherapy can improve the quality of life for cancer patients
What are cancer-related mouth sores?
Many drugs used for chemotherapy frequently cause mild to severe ulcers or sores on any of the soft tissues surrounding your mouth, including your lips, gums and tongue. These sores can make it difficult to eat, drink or even talk.
How do cancer treatments cause mouth sores?
Chemotherapy drugs target rapidly growing cells, like cancer cells. However, some such cells are perfectly normal, such as the cells inside and around your mouth. Unfortunately, these drugs can't always determine which cells are cancerous and which cells are supposed to be there. When chemotherapy destroys the cells around your mouth, painful sores can appear. In addition, since chemotherapy can weaken your immune system, you are more susceptible to infections from the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth. Chemo-related mouth sores usually begin within a few days of treatment and last until about one week after the last treatment.
Coping with mouth sores during cancer treatment
Although there is no way to prevent chemo-related mouth sores, you can minimize their impact by taking a few proactive steps.
- Have your teeth cleaned before you begin treatment, so you start with a clean, bacteria-free mouth.
- If you're a smoker, consider giving up the habit, at least during your chemo treatments.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Follow a good dental hygiene regimen.
You may not feel like brushing, flossing and using mouthwash every day, but these simple steps can help chemo mouth sores from forming and reduce the bacteria in your mouth. Fighting cancer is tough, but you don't have to suffer unnecessarily. Taking small steps to cope with mouth sores after chemo treatments can go a long way toward reducing your discomfort. To learn more about alternative cancer treatments, call us at 877-292-1571 for a free cancer consultation.