Mouth care guidelines

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Good mouth care helps to keep the mouth clean, moist and comfortable. It is especially important to take good care of your mouth while you are receiving treatment:

Chemotherapy affects rapidly dividing normal cells such as those that make up the lining of the mouth and gut. This may result in inflammation and ulceration of the mouth lining causing pain and discomfort; Radiotherapy in or around the area of your mouth can make it dry and sore. Inflammation of the mouth is called mucositis. In these cases or if your white cell count is low after treatment, you will be susceptible to oral infections such as thrush (candida) or cold sores (herpes simplex). Careful attention to mouth care will help reduce the risks of infection and the following instructions are designed to help you keep your mouth clean and comfortable. Oral mucositis  often can be painful, and this in turn can make it difficult to eat and drink.  

Treating and preventing a painful mouth 
Tell your medical team if you develop a sore mouth, particularly if you have any of the following symptoms as these are more often associated with infection:

Your medical team will often prescribe an anti-fungal lozenge or tablet. If severe they may also reduce your chemotherapy dose at the next cycle. Otherwise the following tips may help:-

Common causes of a dry mouth

Tips for a dry mouth

 

Good mouth care when you have a dry mouth can help to keep the mouth clean, moist and comfortable. It is especially important to take good care of your mouth while you are receiving treatment: Careful attention to mouth care will help reduce the risks of infection and the following instructions are designed to help you keep your mouth clean and comfortable. If a dry mouth becomes inflamed this is called oral mucositis often can be painful, and this in turn can make it difficult to eat and drink.  

It may be necessary to change the diet to foods which are soft and moist. Also if there are signs of secondary infection further treatment may be needed.

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.


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