Mouth Care

Chemotherapy affects the fast growing cells that line your mouth, lips and throat. You will be asked to check your mouth, lips, gums and tongue.
What to do:
  • Please check your mouth, lips, gums, teeth and tongue daily for sores, white spots, ulcers, redness, swelling, tenderness, or for any difficulty with swallowing.

  • Avoid routine dental cleanings during chemotherapy. If you need emergency dental treatment, please discuss with your doctor or nurse before seeking dental care.

  • Try to notify your dentist two weeks prior to starting chemotherapy. Your dentist may want to do a dental exam and recommend toothpaste or a mouthwash for you to use.

  • Keep your mouth moist. Talk to your nurse about saliva substitutes.

  • Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. If you normally floss, floss gently. If spontaneous bleeding occurs stop flossing and call a nurse.

  • Do not use a mouthwash that has alcohol. Try using 1/8 teaspoon salt and/or 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in one cup of warm water after meals and at bedtime. If you have dentures or partials, remove them and clean separately.

  • If you wear dentures, please make sure they fit well and you inspect your gums. Do not use dentures if you experience any discomfort.

  • Apply lip moisturizer often.

When to call your doctor or nurse:

Please call if you have any difficulty swallowing or experience unusual symptoms. Your doctor may need to prescribe medications to treat or prevent mouth infection.