To guarantee a healthy oral higiene for patients undergoing cancer treatments for breast cancer is essential to a person´s wellbeing.
HOW DOES BREAST CANCER AFFECT ORAL HEALTH?
The side effects of breast cancer treatments can be :
The side effects of chemotheraphy can include sore spots in your mouth, cavities, infections, gum pain,itchiness or redness of the tongue and change in taste.
One should always advise your dental practioner before undergoing chemotheraphy treatments in order
- To detect possible sources of infection or irritations so they can be treated on time
- To determine whether it is necessary to remove orthodontic treatments before treatment begins.
- RADIATION THERAPHY
Just as chemotheraphy affects so does radiotheraphy increasing the risk of cavities, bacterial and viral infections, fungal infections,changes in taste,oral mucositis, and the reduction in the amount of saliva produced.
- HORMONE THERAPHY
The side effects of hormone theraphy treatments are pain in bones and articulations.
- BISPHOSPHONATES, AND OTHER MEDICATIONS THAT MODIFY OUR BONE STRUCTURE
Some medicines such as bisphosphonates and other drugs used to combat bone loss can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw bone. Its symptoms are : pain, inflamation and infection of the jaw, exposed bones and loose teeth.
- PAIN MEDICATION
Some drugs used toe ase pain can cause dryness of the mouth.
HOW TO TREAT AND AVOID THESE SIDE EFFECTS?
- PRELIMINARY PHASE
- Have a complete dental check up to treat problems beforehand that could probably get worse during cancer treatments.You should always inform your dentist about your disease and the treatments that you are carrying out.
- Treat your cavities and do the necessary restorations.
- Treat periodontal disease ( gums) if you have.
- Have a profesional clean up.
- DURING CANCER TREATMENTS:
- Have periodic check ups and follow up on any signs of complications.
- Drink lots of wáter to prevent mouth dryness.
- Control your diet.
- AFTER CANCER TREATMENTS:
Have periodic check ups to ensure your dental higiene is correct and to avoid future problems.
SPECIAL ATTENTION TO ORAL HEALTH:
With cancer treatments like chemotheraphy, some of the changes which occur are due to the bacterial flora which causes oral mucositis, cavities etc. That´s why we recommend:
- Brush your teeth and your tongue after every meal.
- Use dental floss and interproximal brushes, if your gums are not inflammed.
- Rinse your mouth regularly to prevent mouth dryness.
TIPS TO BEAR IN MIND
The National Cancer Institute (Health Institute in US) recommends :
- Because our body in general is more sensitive, it is better to use a brush with soft nylon filaments.
- Make sure you clean your gums thoroughly.
- If you´re gums are very sensitive, rinse your tooth brush in hot wáter for 15-30 seconds in order to soften it, avoiding cuts or damage to the gums.
- Rinse with wáter or saline solution between brushing.
- Change your toothbrush every 3 months or when you see it worn out.
- Take care when using dental floss so you don´t damage your gums.
- If you use false teeth, clean it properly with a special brush and rinse it properly after every meal.
- If you´re gums bleed during brushing, consult your dentist.
- Maintain your mouth and lips hidrated.
- Check with your dental practioner about any doubts you might have regarding your dental higiene.