Oral cancer basically means that some of the cells inside your mouth have gone rogue and turn against you. This leads to severe destruction to the infected structures in your mouth. And if that kind of destruction isn’t enough, the cancer treatment could actually lead to more damage. In the same way that radiation could leave a person bald, you could have damaged salivary glands because of how radiation kills the healthy cells along with the cancer cells. For this reason, it’s crucial that an oral cancer patient be more vigilant about his or her oral hygiene. Here is a checklist of how you can keep your mouth healthy even with the not-so-good conditions:
1. Keep your mouth moist.
It’s natural for people who are undergoing radiation therapy to have dry mouths because of the damage to their salivary glands. In order to prevent the rampant proliferation of bacteria inside your mouth, you can prompt saliva secretion by chewing on sugar-free gum and drinking copious amounts of water,
2. Clean your teeth and gums.
The decrease in saliva production would lead to overgrowth of cavity causing bacteria inside your mouth. These populations of bacteria would attack two structures – your teeth and your gums. You should keep a keener eye on these dental structures. To start off, you should switch to a toothbrush with extra soft bristles to ensure that your gums do not get affected by too much force and friction that comes with brushing your teeth. Your gums could bleed whenever you floss, especially if you tug on the floss heavily, so be very ginger when doing so,
The kind of toothpaste you use is also very important. It’s vital that you use a fluoride toothpaste since this mineral is needed in the regeneration of enamel crystals which can help reverse the formation of cavities. It’s common for your dentist to prescribe you with some kind of fluoride gel just in case the fluoride concentrations of ordinary toothpastes aren’t enough.
3. Watch your diet especially if you have a sore mouth.
Pick only foods which are easy to chew and swallow so that you do not have to exert too much effort. When eating, also try to take smaller bites and be more careful with chewing, especially since injuries such as biting your lip or inner cheek could easily lead to complications with your compromised immune system. Try to accompany your meals with liquids so that it’s easier for you to swallow your food.
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