Taking Care of Your Teeth During Cancer Treatment: Things to Know

Oral health issues are common during cancer treatment. While modern cancer treatments are more effective than ever, some forms of treatment can take a toll on your oral health. To make sure you come through your treatment with a smile ready to share, there are a few things to keep in mind about your oral health.

You Must Be More Vigilant About Your Oral Health During Treatment

Not only is your oral health care routine at home important, but it is also extremely important that you maintain a good plan of care with your dentist. You may be more prone to issues like decay and inflammation in your gums, and the earlier you can catch these issues, the less likely it will be that you have permanent problems to contend with after treatment. If you have issues with vomiting during treatment, be careful to properly rinse your mouth afterward to wash away any stomach acid that may be on your teeth.

Stay Well Hydrated to Protect Your Gums

Chemotherapy and radiation are especially hard on the soft tissues in your mouth. You may develop small sores in your mouth through treatment, so make sure you watch out for these sore spots and let your dentist know if you see anything on or around your gums. In some cases, the dentist may recommend that your treatment be slowed while your mouth heals to prevent problems with infection. Staying well-hydrated can help prevent these kinds of issues, so try to drink ample amounts of water throughout treatment.

You May Need Enamel-Building Dental Care Products

To protect the enamel of your teeth through your treatment, your dentist may prescribe a certain mouthwash to help thwart issues with enamel deterioration. Rinsing with your prescribed mouthwash as directed may help strengthen your tooth enamel to combat the weakening effects of some of the treatments you may be undergoing.

Work with a Willowbrook Dentist to Take Care of Your Smile During Cancer Treatment

Your smile is something you will want to share as often as possible through cancer treatment and beyond. If you are facing cancer treatments and concerned about your oral health, reach out to us at Dentists of Hinsdale Lake in Willowbrook, IL to schedule an appointment, and create a care plan for your smile.

Oral Cancer: A Look at the Risk Factors and Symptoms

According to statistics, there are more than 400,000 cases of oral cancer every year around the world. Nevertheless, this is one form of cancer that many patients do not know a lot about. It is important to get familiar with the risks of oral cancer and the signs and symptoms of the condition that can be so easy to miss.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

There are a lot of established risk factors for oral cancer. If you have any of these risk factors, it is best to be vigilant about watching for symptoms and proper screenings.

  • Being male; more men than women are diagnosed with oral cancer
  • People of African American descent may be more at risk
  • More common among people beyond 45 years of age and risk increases with age
  • Tobacco and alcohol use are risk factors
  • High levels of sun exposure to the lips and mouth
  • History of another form of cancer
  • Poor oral hygiene habits

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

On the surface, the most common symptoms of oral cancer include pain or ulcers in the mouth that won’t subside on their own. However, there can be several other signs of oral cancer that are sometimes easy to miss, such as:

  • White patches on the gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in how dentures fit with no explanation
  • Thickening of the cheek tissue
  • Loss of oral sensation
  • Oral bleeding
  • Pain with swallowing or speaking
  • Earaches
  • Unexplained areas of swelling

How the Dentist Can Help

The dentist is more familiar with what the mouth should look like than perhaps any other trained medical professional. Therefore, they are often the first ones to point out what looks to be a symptom of oral cancer. Many dentists offer oral cancer screenings in their office, which entails going over your health history, determining your risks of the disease, and doing a thorough examination of the oral cavity.

Get an Oral Cancer Screening in Willowbrook, IL

Oral cancer can be dangerous, but when caught early, it is also a highly treatable condition. If you believe you may be at risk of oral cancer or there is something peculiar going on in your mouth that has you concerned, reach out to us at the Dentists of Hinsdale Lake for an appointment.