There has never been a disease known to man that’s as traumatic to patient, family and doctors as Cancer. Pain from Cancer can cause a complete lack of interest in maintaining good oral hygiene, which may further reduce these patients’ ability to chew.
Recent years has noted a steady increase in the occurrence of the disease but, as the treatments improve, the number of Cancer survivors has also increased. Unfortunately, Cancer treatment not only kills the Cancer cells but also causes severe damage to the healthy tissue. Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy are common treatment options in Cancer, and both these treatments can have potent adverse effects on the oral cavity. A factor which often patients fail to understand is the long term effects on these treatments. Radiation exposure to the head and neck can cause both short term alterations such as extensive ulcers in the oral cavity, or long term damage to natural saliva production necessary in decreasing decay. This damage to the teeth and associated changes in saliva can affect food consumption and obtaining the correct levels of nutrition, which is a must in these patients.
Here are a few queries and simple techniques to aid in the management of Oral Health during Cancer treatments and for management of dental health in Cancer survivors.