Radiation therapy or chemotherapy may cause mucositis (tissue swelling) in your mouth. You may have symptoms such as:
With chemotherapy, mucositis heals by itself when there is no infection. Healing usually takes 2 to 4 weeks. Mucositis caused by radiation therapy usually lasts 6 to 8 weeks, depending on how long you have radiation treatment.
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 rinses that have alcohol in them. You may use an antibacterial rinse 2 to 4 times a day for gum disease.
To further take care of your mouth:
Ask your doctor about treatments you can use in your mouth, including:
Your doctor may also give you pills for pain or medicine to fight infection in your mouth.
National Cancer Institute: Oral Complications of Chemotherapy and Head/Neck Radiation (PDQ®). Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated April 23, 2014. http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/oralcomplications/HealthProfessional. Accessed May 7, 2014.
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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