Oral Care During Head and Neck Radiation
It is extremely important to keep the mouth clean and healthy during head and neck radiation to help reduce the risk of oral infection and to help maintain your teeth as long as possible. A professional dental cleaning with your Houston dentist at Midtown Dentistry prior to radiation is highly recommended.
Remember, it is vital that a trained dentist – a dentist with training in dental oncology – sees you prior to beginning radiation.
Here are some suggestions to reduce oral challenges during radiotherapy
- You should brush your teeth at least twice a day: in the morning, after breakfast and before bedtime, after dinner. Super soft toothbrushes should be used to help reduce irritation. Brushing should be done in a gentle, circular motion as close to the gums as possible.
Hint: If a particular toothpaste burns or irritates the mouth, try a toothpaste that is specially made for children or people with dry mouth.
- Flossing is recommended as well as the use of a water-irrigating device, on a low setting, to eliminate food between teeth.
- Baking soda rinses (1 tsp. baking soda to one quart of water) may be used throughout the day to sooth the sore and dry mouth.
- Eat small bites and chew thoroughly when using these numbing medicines to reduce the risk of choking.
- Keep mouth and lips well lubricated with a water-based lubricant. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) repels water and is not recommended for use.
- When the mouth is sore, take out your dentures and leave them out until the mouth heals.
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