What You Should Know About Cancer Treatments And Your Oral Health

When you find out that you have cancer and you need chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, your primary focus is on getting better and getting the treatment you need to do that. However, there are many side effects that go along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy that you should be aware of when you are going through treatment. For example, you should know what effects chemo can have on oral health. Get to know some of the facts about cancer treatments and your oral health. Then, you can be sure you know how to handle the situation if your oral health is impacted by your cancer treatment program. 

Chemo Can Change the Inside of Your Mouth

Chemotherapy drugs are powerful and potent medications. They affect the whole body, not just the areas in which there are cancer cells. This can include the mouth. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is mouth sores. This is because chemo affects the soft tissue lining of the mouth, causing the tissue to become inflamed and sensitive, which can easily lead to the aforementioned mouth sores. 

Radiation Therapy Can Affect the Salivary Glands

Radiation therapy, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on the salivary glands. Salivary glands produce saliva for the mouth. Saliva is an important lubricator in the mouth, protecting the gums as well as the teeth. Dry mouth is a common complaint among people receiving radiation therapy. 

Without the mouth lubrication from saliva, bacteria can build up and grow in the mouth. When bacteria are left to grow and reproduce in this way, several mouth health issues can occur. Gum infections like periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are one such consequence of a lack of saliva. Tooth decay can also be a severe consequence of radiation therapy and the associated loss of saliva production. 

You Can Sometimes Prevent Oral Health Complications

It is possible to try to prevent some of these oral health complications that come along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Mouth sores can sometimes be prevented by sucking on popsicles during chemotherapy treatments, for example. More serious oral health complications are more likely to develop in people who already have some minor oral health problems. Getting necessary dental treatments before chemo or radiation therapy begins can help to prevent those issues in some cases. 

You Can Also Deal with Oral Health Complications After Cancer Treatments

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you still have complications from chemo and radiation therapy. If you experienced tooth decay as a result of radiation therapy, you are not alone. Many people have the same issue and seek out care after they have completed cancer treatments.

You can have the damaged teeth removed and get partial dentures to replace the missing teeth. Partial dentures are used when not all of the teeth in the mouth are damaged enough to remove. Your dentist will make a mold of the area of the mouth that needs tooth replacement, and they will build you custom partial dentures to fit the space. The artificial teeth will be made to match up with your existing teeth. This will help to restore your smile to what it was before you began cancer treatments. 

Now that you know some of the important facts about cancer treatments and your oral health, you can be sure you do what you can to take care of your oral health before, during, and after your cancer treatment. For more information go to sites like https://www.vanyodentistry.com/.