Tips For Eating With A Sore Mouth
- Avoid neat spirits, tobacco, hot spices, garlic, onion, vinegar and salty food.
- Moisten meals with gravies and sauces to make swallowing easier.
- Try to drink at least one and a half litres of fluid a day have tea or coffee, fruit and vegetable juices, soft drinks or water.
- Tell your doctor if you have mouth ulcers.
- Avoid acidic fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, or lemons.
- Chew gum to help you to produce more saliva to keep your mouth moist.
How May My Mouth Sores Be Treated
Right now, there is no medicine that can prevent mouth sores caused by your chemotherapy treatment. When caring for your mouth sores, the goal is to:
- Shorten the amount of time you have mouth sores
- Keep your mouth sores from getting so bad that you have trouble eating, talking, and drinking
- Give you relief from any pain that the mouth sores cause
- Keep you from getting an infection
If your mouth is sensitive or you see any sores forming, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may give you medicine to protect the inside of your mouth and to reduce the amount of pain your mouth sores cause.
Though mouth sores can be upsetting, remember that they are temporary and any pain you have can be treated. Dont worry about giving mouth sores to someone. You cannot give mouth sores to anyone if you kiss them or if you share a glass, fork, spoon, knife, or towel.
How Are Mouth Sores Treated
The best way to manage mouth sores is to prevent them or treat them early. If you are receiving chemotherapy, sucking on ice chips right before and during treatment may prevent mouth sores. Visit a dentist that specializes in cancer care before starting radiation therapy to the head or neck area.
Your doctor may also recommend pain relief strategies, like a mouthwash solution called magic mouthwash, magic mud, or triple mix. Ingredients in this mouthwash may vary, but it typically includes an antihistamine, anesthetic, an antacid, antibiotics, and/or an antifungal. You may be prescribed prescription pain medicine or they may suggest over-the-counter acetaminophen. Avoid taking aspirin during cancer treatment unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Your health care team may use a prescription liquid medication called palifermin . This medicine is given by vein . It can be used before and after certain treatments to reduce the risk of mucositis.Its important to continue to eat and drink regularly during cancer treatment, but mouth sores may make it uncomfortable. To help, take your pain medicine 30 minutes before you eat or drink. Talking with a registered dietitian can be very helpful to get other strategies to help with mouth sores. For instance, they can help figure out whether you need to take food supplements, such as protein shakes, to get the nutrition you need.
It is a good idea to take special care of your mouth during cancer treatment. The following tips may help:
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Be Conscious Of Overly Acidic Ingredients
Lemon juice and vinegar are powerful palate cleansers, but their high acidity can actually cause a burning sensation in your mouth sores. If you are using either citrus juices or vinegars to combat metallic tastes make certain that you are cooking them into the dish or diluting them in some way before you ingest them.
This is really all there is to mouth sores as far as cooking is concerned. Remember to keep a journal and write down what works for you and what does not work for you.
Keeping Your Mouth Moist
A dry mouth is very common when your mouth is sore. There are simple things you can try to help moisten your mouth:
- Sip fluids throughout the day.
- Eat moist foods such as mousses, jellies and fruit.
- Chew gum or suck a boiled sweet to trigger saliva production.
- Ask your medical team about artificial saliva treatments, which can come as sprays, gels, tablets or lozenges.
- Use a moisturiser or lip balm on your lips.
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What The Patient Can Do
Check your mouth twice a day using a small flashlight, mirror, and a padded Popsicle stick. If you wear dentures, take them out before you check your mouth. Tell your health care team if your mouth looks or feels different or if you notice changes in how things taste.
Talk to your cancer care team about a plan for mouth care that is right for you.
For example, your cancer care team might recommend doing mouth care 30 minutes after eating and every 4 hours while youre awake by using a soft toothbrush, non-abrasive toothpaste, and certain kind of alcohol-free mouthwash or special mouth rinse. Ask about whether you should floss or not. If you have dentures, you may be instructed to remove and clean your dentures between meals on a regular time schedule, and to store them in cleansing soak.
Other tips that might help include:
How Can Chemotherapy Affect My Child’s Mouth And Throat
The lining of your child’s mouth and throat becomes weak during chemotherapy treatment – this may lead to inflammation and ulcers. This is called mucositis. Mucositis reduces the desire to eat, drink and swallow. It may also lead to septicaemia . Good mouth care will help avoid infection and will make things more comfortable for your child.
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What Caregivers Can Do
- Use a flashlight to check the patients mouth for red areas or white patches, which often become sores. If the patient wears dentures, remove them before looking.
- Offer liquids with a straw, which may help bypass the sores in the mouth.
- Offer soft foods. Mash or puree foods in a blender to make them easier to eat.
- Try coating mouth sores with Anbesol® or Orajel® before meals to numb them during eating, if OK with the cancer care team.
- Offer pain medicines 30 minutes before mealtime.
Mouth Sores From Chemo And Radiation: What To Do
Heres some good advice: Take care of your mouth before and during cancer treatment. Your mouth can be affected by some chemotherapy or targeted therapy drugs or radiation to the head and neck area. These problems can range from mild irritation to conditions that make it difficult to eat, drink or speak. They may affect the way foods taste and increase your risk for cavities and infections. Some of these conditions will go away in time, but others will require treatment to heal or lessen the symptoms. Severe problems may delay or even stop your treatment.
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Tips For Coping With Cancer
This page adheres to our medical and editorial policy and guidelines.
The impact of cancer and cancer treatments on the bodys immune system may lead to many changes in patients daily lives, especially as they navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. A weakened immune system, for example, may require you stay inside more, avoid crowds, be vigilant about washing hands and cleaning surfaces.
Some immune-related impacts directly affect patients oral health. Consider, for example:
- Compromised immunities may cause mouth sores or other issues that impede normally simple everyday tasks, such as eating, swallowing or talking.
- Cancer treatments may damage the cells lining the mouth, potentially allowing bacteria, fungi and viruses to more easily infect oral cavities.
- Mouth sores and/or dry mouth can be painful and make it difficult to eat and talk.
- When oral mucositis becomes severe, it can also cause bleeding or infection.
Oral problems are common in people with cancer, particularly in patients with head and neck cancers. Your doctor or dentist may prescribe medications to help heal and soothe your mouth. Sometimes oral complications can become severe enough that it is necessary to modify or delay your treatment so your mouth can heal. Good oral hygiene can also help decrease the severity of mouth sores and other problems.
Diet Nutrition And Lifestyle
If you find eating and drinking uncomfortable or painful, try to minimise the amount of irritation to your mouth.
- Eat soft foods such as yoghurt, mashed potato, scrambled eggs or soup though make sure that foods are not very hot when you eat them. Likewise, avoid those with rough textures or sharp edges, such as crisps and crusty bread.
- Avoid eating and drinking things that are very hot or spicy foods, and citrus products.
- Use a straw if you find drinking painful just make sure you keep them clean to minimise the bacteria collecting inside them. Take care not to scald your mouth when drinking hot drinks as it is more difficult to tell how hot a drink is through a straw.
- Avoid acidic products, like vinegar and uncooked onion.
- Avoid alcohol, including in mouth rinses .
If you think you might not be getting the nutrients your body needs, and if you are losing weight, speak to your clinical nurse specialist or your GP for advice.
I think oral mucositis is a very individual side-effect, and many things other people recommended did not work for me. I was given a mouth rinse, which gave short-term relief. I tried different foods and drinks to see which were suitable for me. It took about 2 to 3 weeks for my mouth to ease after I had finished chemotherapy treatment but I still had a strange taste many, many months later. I found tomatoes particularly difficult to eat even 4 to 5 years after treatment ended.
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Causes Of Mouth Sores During Therapy
Mouth sores are common during cancer treatment because chemotherapy and other drugs target rapidly dividing cells. Similar tissues, such as those in the mouth, are affected.
Cancer treatment relies on a range of therapies. Chemotherapy is known to lead to mouth sores, but so can radiation therapy and surgery.
Targeted therapy drugs, genetically-based treatments designed to target specific cancer cells, and some immunotherapy drugs, which work to boost the body’s own immune responses to fight cancer, also may lead to mouth sores.
Bone marrow and stem cell transplants also may lead to mouth sores.
They occur due to inflammation of the mucus membranes in the mouth, called chemotherapy-related mucositis. Treatments and other factors most likely to lead to mouth sores include:
- Radiation treatments to the head and neck
Why Does Cancer Treatment Cause Mouth Sores
Cancer cells can grow very quickly. The aim of cancer treatment is to stop or slow down that growth. The cells in the mucous membranes lining your mouth are also fast-growing cells, so cancer treatments affect them, too.
Cancer treatments also keep the cells in your mouth from being able to repair themselves efficiently when theyre damaged.
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Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Mouth Sores
The powerful anticancer medicines you take can affect the healthy cells in your body, including the cells that line the inside of your mouth . Damage to the healthy cells in your mouth makes it difficult for your mouth to heal itself and to fight off bacteria, leading to mouth sores. When this happens it is called mucositis or stomatitis .
Mouth sores usually appear a few days after your treatment starts and go away 10 to 14 days after your treatment ends. Your mouth sores may start as a mild pain or burning in your mouth. Your mouth sores will be at their worst around the seventh day after your chemotherapy treatment. Whether you get mouth sores or not depends on:
- The kind of chemotherapy medicine you are given
- How much chemotherapy medicine you get
- How you take your chemotherapy medicine
How Long Does Oral Mucositis Go On For
Usually, oral mucositis gets better once you finish your treatment for lymphoma and your blood counts return to the levels they were at before you had treatment. Usually, this is about 2 to 3 weeks after chemotherapy, and 6 to 8 weeks after radiotherapy.
For some people, sore mouth goes on for longer. This can happen if you have a low number of a type of white blood cell called neutrophils that continues for a while. It improves once your blood cell count returns to normal levels.
I experienced severe oral mucositis 9 months after I was deemed to be in remission mainly because my immune system was low. Once my white blood cell count went up and my immune system improved, my symptoms got better.
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Best Toothpaste For Chemo Mouth Sores
It is important to find a natural and gentle toothpaste to use when you are dealing with chemo sores. We have researched the best toothpastes for mouth sores and included the most gentle toothpastes that do not include sodium laurel sulfate, which is a common irritant that can cause mouth sores. It is also very important that you find a good toothpaste, as it can make a big difference in preventing sores.
Ways To Prevent Mouth And Dental Problems
Your doctor or nurse may advise you to take these and other steps:
- Get a dental check-up before starting treatment. Before you start treatment, visit your dentist for a cleaning and check-up. Tell the dentist about your cancer treatment and try to get any dental work completed before starting treatment.
- Check and clean your mouth daily. Check your mouth every day for sores or white spots. Tell your doctor or nurse as soon as you notice any changes, such as pain or sensitivity. Rinse your mouth throughout the day with a solution of warm water, baking soda, and salt. Ask your nurse to write down the mouth rinse recipe that is recommended for you. Gently brush your teeth, gums, and tongue after each meal and before going to bed at night. Use a very soft toothbrush or cotton swabs. If you are at risk of bleeding, ask if you should floss.
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Good Mouth Care And Mouth Rinses
Good mouth care is key to help reduce the risk or severity of mouth sores. Using a soft toothbrush or foam swab can help keep the mouth clean and reduce the risk of injuring your gums and lining of the mouth. If you use dental floss, ask your doctor if you should stop or if you can continue to floss.
Certain types of rinses can help to keep your mouth clean and can help soothe discomfort. Ask your doctor which type of rinse may be best for your situation. For example, baking soda, salt water, or saline rinses might be recommended. Mouth rinses with antibiotic agents or steroids might be recommended, depending on how severe the mouth sores are.
Benzydamine may help prevent mouth sores in people getting radiation treatment to the mouth or throat. Morphine rinses may help relieve pain from mouth sores in this same group of people. Dexamethasone has been used in mouth rinses to help with cleansing and discomfort.
Another type of mouth rinse, often referred to as “magic mouthwash” might be recommended by your doctor. Magic mouthwash is a mixed medication mouthwash that combines a few different medicines. But, there is not one single combination that’s used by all doctors, and some experts don’t recommend a combination. Some common ingredients of magic mouthwash include diphenhydramine, viscous lidocaine, aluminum hydroxide, nystatin, and corticosteroids.
What About Prescription Medications
Your healthcare provider will discuss the options that are available for you if you need prescription medication to relieve pain or treat an infection. They may prescribe an antifungal rinse or lozenge. Gel Clair® is a mouth gel prescribed to relieve mouth sores. It works by forming a barrier that protects the nerve endings that cause pain. You can eat, drink and take medications while using Gel Clair®. Avoid drinking or eating anything within one hour of using Gel Clair®.
Mouth sores are a common problem when you are receiving some types of cancer therapies. There are treatments available to reduce your risk of having mouth problems, and to reduce pain and discomfort if you do. Remember, if your mouth problems are severe, your treatment may be delayed or stopped.
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What Is Triple Mix
Triple mix is a combination of three liquid medications that treat and soothe oral and esophageal mucositis. The exact medications can vary, and is usually only available by prescription. The usual mix contains drugs that will stop pain, reduce inflammation, and sometimes treat a bacterial or fungal infection.
Your healthcare provider must prescribe this drug, and your pharmacist will need time to create it. Triple mix must be compounded when it is orderedmeaning it has to be made at the pharmacy and does not come already mixed.
Triple mix often contains:
There are several variations on this mix, and your oncologist has an opinion on which mix seems to work best. Make sure to ask them, preferably before you begin chemotherapy and develop mouth sores.
You may hear of solutions with names other than triple mix. These include:
- Triple Solution