Chemotherapy and Its Effects

oncologChemotherapy can save your life. It has saved millions of people, there is no doubt. But it is well-known that chemotherapy has certain drawbacks too. One of those drawbacks is the effect it has on your oral health. In today’s blog, your Reno dentists, Dr. William Wager and Dr. Brian Evans discuss chemotherapy and its effect on your oral health.

The Balance Within

Within your oral cavity exists millions of bacteria. There are good bacteria and there are bad bacteria.  When this delicate balance of good and bad bacteria is disrupted serious problems can result.  Chemotherapy consists of a cocktail of extremely strong drugs developed to kill cancer cells. However, drugs do not discriminate. They cannot target only bad cells. As a result, healthy cells are killed along with the cancer cells. This happens inside your mouth too.

The Effects

When the good bacteria and healthy cells in your mouth are killed your gums, saliva, and oral tissue is negatively affected. Without the good bacteria, the harmful bacteria are not kept in balance. Harmful bacteria can cause oral infections including periodontal disease. Other problems may develop as well, such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Painful mouth and gums
  • Burning, peeling, or swelling of the tongue
  • Change in taste

Things You Can Do

There are things to do to help keep your mouth healthy during cancer treatments. In addition to your regular oral hygiene, it’s important to keep your mouth moist. To do so, drink plenty of water, suck on ice chips, chew sugar free gum, suck on hard sugar-free candy, or use a saliva substitute. Also rinse your mouth several times throughout the day with ¼ teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt in one quart of warm water.

About Your Reno Dentists

Dr. William Wager, Dr. Brian Evans, and our highly experienced team at Wager Evans Dental are devoted to our patients and their families, and dedicated to providing first-rate dental care in a comfortable, inviting environment. Located in Reno, we proudly welcome residents from Spanish Springs, Sparks, Incline Village, Dayton, Fernley, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation or your next dental appointment, visit our office, or contact us today by calling (775) 800-4845.