Oral Care and Cancer Treatment FAQ

Answers to your questions about oral care and Cancer Treatment

Q:
Why am I getting so many sores in my mouth during chemo treatment?

A:
Sores in your mouth can occur because the cells of the mucous lining are not replaced as quickly as needed due to your treatment. Healthy Gums Rinse contains 20% Aloe Vera, which can soothe and heal mouth sores. And because there are no harsh or artificial ingredients, you can use Healthy Gums as often as needed.

Q:
Why are my gums bleeding when I brush or floss?

A:
Bleeding gums are often the first, or only, sign of infection. Your gums are particularly susceptible to infection due to your lowered platelet count during chemotherapy. It’s very important to let your oncologist and your dentist know if you are experiencing bleeding gums.

Q:
Do I need an antibacterial rinse to fight gum and mouth infections?

A:
Yes. During chemotherapy treatment it is particularly important to prevent all infections.

Q:
I’ve heard that use of chlorahexidine, recommended by my dentist prior to chemo treatment, can cause loss of taste buds, stains on my teeth,and has an unpleasant taste. Is this true?

A:
While these are possible side effects of using chlorhexidine, it is important to reduce your chance of infection during chemo treatment. If you find these side effects are affecting you, talk to your dentist about alternatives. For example, Healthy Gums has been clinically proven to work just as effectively, but Without the side effects.

Q:
Is my oral health compromised just because of low platelet levels?

A:
No. Chemotherapy also affects your ability to salivate, causing plaque to build up rapidly, thus increasing the chance of developing gum infections and cavities. That’s why it’s important to use a mouth rinse like Healthy Gums which contains no ingredients that add to mouth dryness, like alcohol, artificial flavors and artificial colors.

Q:
Are there other oral health issues during chemotherapy?

A:
During your treatment you want to be as gentle with your mouth as possible. This includes using a very soft toothbrush and a very gentle toothpaste. Be particularly aware of harsh ingredients that may be in your toohtpaste. Many toothpastes contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which is a powerful detergent that you really never need, but especially now.

For more information, please read the NIH guide to oral care during cancer treatment