Oral mucositis is a condition that can occur as a side effect of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It causes inflammation and ulceration of the protective mucous membranes that line the mouth, throat, and digestive tract.
Symptoms can include painful mouth sores, dry mouth, red or swollen gums, white patches on the tongue, and bad breath.
Oral mucositis can make it difficult to eat, drink, talk, and swallow. It can also increase your risk of getting infections.
Oral mucositis is very common among cancer patients who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
About 1 or 2 out of every 5 people who get chemotherapy will have oral mucositis. The risk is even higher for people who get high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the head and neck area.
of patients receiving chemotherapy struggle with oral mucositis
of patients receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancer struggle with oral mucositis
of patients undergoing bone marrow transplants struggle with oral mucositis
Depending on the severity, it can:
Cause you a lot of pain and discomfort.
Make you lose your appetite and weight.
Make you feel tired and weak.
Make you need more hospital visits or stays.
Effect your mood and self-confidence.
Impact your ability to tolerate your cancer treatments.
There is no sure way to prevent oral mucositis, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk or treat it.
Some of these are:
Brush your teeth gently with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
Floss your teeth gently once a day.
Rinse your mouth with salt water or specific mouthwash several times daily.
Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other irritants that can hurt your mouth.
Drink plenty of water and use sugar-free candy or gum to moisten your mouth.
Eat soft, bland, and moist foods that are easy to swallow.
Avoid spicy, acidic, hot, or crunchy foods that hurt your mouth.
Use lip balm to prevent your lips from cracking.
Ask your doctor or nurse about medicines or devices that can help with oral mucositis, such as:
Painkillers to ease pain.
Mouthwashes to clean and soothe your mouth.
Gel or sprays to coat and protect your mouth.
Artificial saliva to moisten your mouth.
Bocaliner™ to help the effectiveness of your treatment.
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