If you or a loved one is going through chemotherapy treatments, it can be surprising to find out how many different things are affected by it. This includes the mouth, since issues can occur, such as gum problems or sores. By working with a dentist that is proactive about dealing with the effects of chemotherapy on the teeth, they can be protected throughout the treatment.
How Chemotherapy Affects Dental Health
The chemotherapy treatment is responsible for lowering the cell counts in the blood, which hinders circulation. Over the treatment process, it can cause bruising and increased bleeding in the mouth and to the gums. In some instances, chemotherapy may cause general sensations of pain and pressure, which makes it feel really uncomfortable when eating.
In addition, chemotherapy is known for having a side effect of vomiting and nausea. The teeth become exposed to all those acids, which can damage enamel and create significant wear on the teeth. In addition, many people experience swelling and sores in their mouth. Always remember that people will react in different ways to chemotherapy, so it's possible to not experience as many side effects all at once.
How To Protect The Teeth
A couple things can be done to protect the teeth throughout the chemotherapy treatments. One of the best thing to do is make regularly scheduled visits to the dentist to catch issues early on. Based on how the body is reacting to the treatments, the dentist may recommend more frequent checkups to make sure that any new issue can be dealt with quickly.
While at home, it's important to make a dental care routine that is followed every day. Be sure to brush after each meal, and to use a toothbrush that has soft bristles that that the enamel and gum are not damaged. It also helps to buy a brand new toothbrush after any infection is treated so that the mouth is not infected again.
It's also important to drink a lot of water. Keeping up with increased water intake can be difficult, especially with the nauseating chemotherapy, but drinking water keeps the mouth clean and moist. With bacterial minimized, it can reduce that amount of infections and sores that occur. If mouth sores are present, a saltwater rinse can help ease discomfort.
For more info about how chemotherapy can affect oral health, meet with a dentist (like those at Family First Dentistry LLC) sooner rather than later. They can come up with a more detailed plan to treat problem based on what the person is experiencing.