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Brush your teeth and tongue gently within 30 minutes after eating with a soft bristles toothbrush that is replaced monthly and after each session of chemotherapy.
Use an SLS free toothpaste containing fluoride or hydroxyapatite to avoid irritating sensitive gums and teeth.
If you have a set of dentures or a dental prosthesis, take it out and clean it each time you clean your mouth.
Take dentures out of your mouth while you sleep.
Use a gentle room temperature salt and soda mouthwash every 4 to 6 hours, or more often as needed. Do not use salt if you have mucositis.
Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol or peroxide.
Floss gently with unwaxed dental floss once daily at bedtime. If you haven’t flossed regularly before treatment, don’t start flossing now.
Use a lip moisturizer as needed to prevent dry lips. Don’t apply lip moisturizer 4 hours before radiation therapy to the head and neck.
Use a xylitol based mouth lozenge or candy for saliva stimulation to help with dry mouth and prevent oral decay.
Ask your dentist about a remineralization gel that can help with strengthening your tooth enamel and decrease sensitivity.
Avoid alcohol, tobacco, spicy and salty foods, very hot or very cold foods.
A humidifier in the room can help with dry mouth.
Exercise the jaw muscles upto three times a day to prevent and help with jaw stiffness from radiation after consulting with your radiation care team. Open and close the mouth gently as far as possible without causing pain; repeat 20 times.
See your dentist so that potential sources of dental infection or irritation can be identified before treatment with chemotherapy or head and neck radiation.
The oral care checklist while on treatment
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