Some cancer treatments and medicines can cause dry mouth. Symptoms you may have include:
Rinse your mouth 5 or 6 times a day for 1 to 2 minutes each time. Use one of the following solutions when you rinse:
Do not use mouth rinses that have alcohol in them. You may use an antibacterial rinse 2 to 4 times a day for gum disease.
Other tips for taking care of your mouth include:
Talk with your dentist about:
You need to eat enough protein and calories to keep your weight up. Ask your doctor about liquid food supplements that can help you meet your caloric needs and keep up your strength.
To make eating easier:
Drink 8 to 12 cups of liquid each day (not including coffee, tea, or other drinks that have caffeine).
Do not drink alcohol or beverages that contain alcohol. They will bother your throat.
Avoid foods that are very spicy, that contain a lot of acid, or that are very hot or very cold.
If pills are hard to swallow, ask your doctor if it is OK to crush your pills. (Some pills do not work if they are crushed.) If it is OK, crush them up and add them to some ice cream or another soft food.
Jones DL, Rankin KV. Management of the oral sequelae of cancer therapy. Tex Dent J. 2012;129:461-468.
National Cancer Institute. Chemotherapy and you: support for people with cancer. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you. Accessed May 7, 2014.
Sideras K, Hallemeier CL, Loprinzi CL. Oral complications. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2013:chap 43.
Updated by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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