Chemotherapy and Oral Health

Chemotherapy and Oral Health

Dentists have to provide oral care or oral hygiene treatment to patients with a complex medical condition especially when it comes to providing dental treatment to patients who are battling with cancer chemotherapy. Dental care holds paramount importance when it comes to cancer therapy.

According to the stats, 385,477 cases of cancer have been treated in the UK during the year 2017-2019. These patients have to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy in the mouth. The jaw inflammation or tooth pain causes difficulty while eating and the situation becomes very distressing. Let’s take a look at the possible side effects of Chemotherapy and maintaining oral health.

Losing teeth through chemotherapy

During the chemotherapy, patients may experience dry mouth, numbness, burning sensation, or loss of flavor. In severe cases, bleeding gums, ulcers, or severe tooth pain has been experienced by the patients. The latest studies show that 45% people of the world’s population deal with oral issues including the patients who go through chemotherapy.

The process does not influence the teeth directly but it does favor periodontitis which becomes the reason for gum inflammation or gum recession. While in most cases of periodontitis, teeth become loose in the bone area or often fall out.

Moreover, chemotherapy also distresses the supply of nutrients by attacking the teeth and causing bleeding gums, nerve tissue issues, and lymph. A good oral consultation and proper medication may help stabilize teeth and jawbone. it also prevents cancer growth in the mouth area.

Taking care of oral treatment before chemotherapy

Cancer patients have to deal with all the side effects of chemotherapy. The likelihood of losing teeth gets lower if the mouth and teeth of a patient are healthy. Most of the dentists do recommend root canal treatment after chemotherapy. However, it is important to pay attention to regular oral hygiene and proper dental follow-ups in every phase of cancer treatment.

Before starting chemotherapy treatment

Right after the diagnosis of cancer, the dentist is the last option people think of but it is important to get an appointment from a dentist as soon as possible. The existing oral issues such as periodontitis and caries worsen due to the weakening of the immune system. It damages the teeth and oral mucosa during the chemotherapy.

Remember, it is not recommended to extract teeth or go for root canal treatment during chemotherapy. It is advisable to go for the root canal treatment after chemotherapy which reduces the risk of infection. However, other mouth issues or proper oral hygiene should be done before treatment to lessen the inflammation and keep the teeth healthy.

Dental measures before chemotherapy

Depending on the condition of the patient, dental issues need to be sorted before the start of chemotherapy. It is good to consider oral hygiene through deep cleansing. Following are the measures which should be taken care of before the start of treatment.

  • Go for the treatment for periodontitis, caries, or tooth root inflammation.
  • It is necessary to remove the plaque or any tartar on teeth through professional teeth cleaning.
  • Any tooth pain or gum pain needs to be treated
  • Grinding of sharp teeth edges or dentures should be done
  • Teeth extraction which is not necessary
  • Removing the implants or root residues which can cause serious issues during chemotherapy
  • Treatment of fitting, pressure points, or any mucosal defects
  • Go for the fluoridation of teeth against tooth decay.
  • Fabrication of protection or fluoridation splint

Dental treatment options

If you are going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy, the dentist would recommend following the best dental treatment options

  • Dental splints

Chemotherapy or radiotherapy often causes caries or gum inflammation. So dentists recommend using fluoridation trays daily to protect tooth pain and to maintain good oral hygiene. The thin plastic splint is filled with fluoride gel and patients can wear it for six to ten minutes. It strengthens the teeth and gives a soothing effect.

If someone is using dentures or metal fillings, they should wear a radiation protection splint to prevent the mucous membrane from excess radiation.

  • Balanced diet

It is advisable to avoid acidic foods or drinks such as sodas or citrus fruits. Even spicy foods are not recommendable. Food items with hard crusts or edges should also be avoided. Some patients find ice cream or frozen fruits very pain-relieving or pleasant.

For dry mouth go for sugar-free sweets or chewing gum. It is advised to drink three liters of water daily.

Keep a balanced diet by taking enough protein in the form of meat, poultry, or dairy products.

  • Regular check-ups

During the treatment, regular dental checkups help to treat any tooth decay or inflammation. But root canal treatment during chemotherapy is not recommended. However, simple fillings to deal with caries are possible.

Preparing patients for chemotherapy and oral health

The gums get sore during chemotherapy and cause severe tooth pain, but it does not mean that you need to give up oral hygiene. Painkillers in the form of gel or numb spray soothe the pain but make sure to follow up the oral care daily. During the treatment of cancer, the following are the few things that help to minimize the damage caused to your teeth.

  • Make sure to brush your teeth after taking every meal
  • Do use a soft brush to protect the gums from bleeding.
  • Use a toothpaste with high fluoride to protect the teeth against tooth decay. A good toothpaste also soothes the tooth pain or gives relief to inflamed gums.
  • Clean the interdental spaces by using an interdental brush.
  • Don’t forget to clean your tongue with a good tongue scraper
  • Do not use any mouthwash that contains alcohol otherwise gargle with lukewarm water containing salt.
  • If you use dentures clean them regularly.


In coming to an end, the dentists will guide the patients about the possible risks and help maintain oral hygiene. Dental treatment is coordinated with the chemotherapy and there is a proper exchange between the dentists at Istanbul and the doctor’s treating cancer.

Lycian Dental Clinic is the best option to consider to maintain optimal oral health before, during, and after the chemotherapy. We at Lycian Dental Clinic closely monitor the patients and offer specialized help. All of the dentists understand the effects of chemotherapy and provide the best advice for healthy teeth. Schedule your appointment now.