How Cancer Affects Your Oral Health

Did you know that over 1.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer each year?

Take a second to think about someone you know, whether a family member, friend, or coworker, who has been affected by cancer. We’ll bet you know at least one or two folks who have been touched by this disease in some way or another.

Many of our patients are no strangers to cancer. That’s one of the reasons that our office is excited to be participating in the 5th Annual March Against Colon Cancer on March 7 at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park!

Cancer Treatments and Your Mouth?

You might be wondering, how in the world does colon cancer relate to dentistry? The fact is, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation have many side effects in all different areas of your body. You’ve seen people who have lost their hair from chemo, but did you know that there are oral side effects, too?

If you or someone you know has recently gone through treatments for cancer or is about to start chemotherapy, radiation, or cancer medications, we’re here to help!

First, let’s look at the oral side effects of these treatments, and then we’ll tell you how we can help take care of them.

What Are the Oral Side Effects of Cancer?

Cancer treatments can affect your entire body, including your mouth. This is because they lower your immune system to help fight the cancerous cells. This means you are more likely to develop an infection, which can delay your cancer treatment so that the infection can be taken care.

Keeping this in mind, you need to know what to expect during your treatments so that you can find the best solutions and keep your mouth healthy.

According to the American Dental Association, common oral side effects of cancer treatments include:

  • dry mouth
  • tooth decay
  • infection (resulting from a lowered immune system)
  • cavities
  • sensitive gums
  • gum disease
  • mouth sores
  • jaw pain

You’ve already been through a lot—you don’t want to add ANOTHER problem to your list! We want to give you one less thing to worry about during your treatments!

How We Can Help You Before, During, and After Your Treatments

You can prepare for your treatment by getting a head start on your oral care and preventing any existing problems.

Before Your Treatments
One of the most important things you can do is come in to see us for regular checkups. Our office is unique because we treat many types of patients, including those who have health concerns like cancer. In fact, Dr. Smith has been treating oncology patients since he graduated from dental school, so he understands what you are going through!

Our goal is for you to get the best dental care possible during your treatments. Make an appointment with us before you start, and we can look for problems and provide the right treatment to take care of them. This can also help reduce those frustrating side effects.

Depending on your specific situation, we can provide tips for good oral hygiene during treatments. Brushing your teeth and tongue with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, flossing daily, rinsing your mouth with water to remove plaque, and eating fruits and veggies to keep your teeth clean and enhance your immune system.

During and After Your Treatments
If you have developed side effects during your treatments, come see us at Prairie Village Dentists. We can personally care for you and your mouth in a comfortable, supporting, friendly environment.

Depending on the side effect, we might need to fill a cavity to help. Another option would be a helpful rinse so you can say goodbye to dry mouth. Our care will be tailored just for you so that you can keep your smile healthy!

Let Prairie Village Dentists Care for You!

Contact us today for an appointment if you have any concerns about cancer’s effects on your mouth. If you know anyone who is about to go through cancer treatments or has recently finished them, we’d love to hear from them, too!