Cancer and its more common treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, are known to diminish your body’s immune system. If you are not up to date with your dental care and don’t make sure your mouth is as healthy as possible prior to treatment, you are more susceptible to infection, which can also lead to a delay in your cancer treatments. Radiation, especially when focused on the head or neck area, can damage your salivary glands. This can cause thick, sticky saliva, as well as extreme dry mouth. Dry mouth is known to increase your chances of infection and tooth decay as well. Other side effects include changes in taste, mouth sores, bone disease and inflammation or pain in the lining of the mouth and tongue. These kinds of side effects can make it difficult to talk, eat, chew, or swallow.
Importance of Oral Health
It is important to maintain the best oral health you can prior to, during, and after your cancer treatments. Oral health is an important part of your overall health. Dr. Jones is happy to be a part of your cancer care team to evaluate your dental health and discuss any treatment options that should be considered prior to starting any kind of cancer treatment. It is very common to prescribe fluoride treatments or take-home trays to help prevent cavities during your cancer treatment.