The rising support for cancer patients and cancer survivors is a massive source of empowerment for the community. While the backing of loved ones and the inspiration from others who share the condition are quite important to empower a cancer patient, there are practical alternatives such as oral care.
Dental practice thevrdc.com believes that quality dental care should be accessible to everyone. In this case, dental care must also be available to cancer patients because healthy teeth are in fact a source of confidence in an individual.
The Effects of Cancer on Teeth
Mid-July 2016, Cancer Research UK reported that the leading cause of death in England and Wales for 2015 is cancer. Despite this report, many British cancer patients continue to fight cancer and live through treatment. Of course, treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy inevitably have side-effects — even in the mouth.
Cancer treatments serve to slow down or stop the abnormal growth of cells, but they also disturb the growth of normal cells. This affects oral health because the inability to make new cells slows down the oral tissue’s ability to self-heal.
Cancer patients may experience mouth sores and dry mouths, making swallowing difficult. A change in one’s sense of taste and bleeding gums are also possibilities. Furthermore, cavities, broken teeth and gum disease might be problematic during treatment.
Oral Care during Cancer Treatment
Proper dental treatment before chemotherapy or radiotherapy reduces the risk and severity of oral complications. For cancer patients who need to undergo treatment, it is ideal to visit the dentist around a month beforehand. This is for general dental cleaning as well as for oral problem treatment and identification.
During cancer treatment, patients have a weakened immune system, making the occurrence of infection easier. Patients have to be meticulous about dental cleaning routine — with the use of a soft-bristled toothbrush or an alcohol-free mouthwash and floss — to prevent mouth disease and oral problems. Furthermore, cancer patients must keep their mouths hydrated with water rinsing or ice chips.
If cancer patients can maintain a bright smile, it makes life just a little bit easier for them.