October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to Everyday Health, more than 249,000 Americans are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. One aspect of breast cancer awareness that is often forgotten is the patient’s oral health before and after treatment. Treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can have many side effects, some of which can negatively impact your oral health during treatment and for years after remission.
When the mucus membranes become inflamed due to chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, it can cause painful sores in the mouth and tongue. Staying hydrated by drinking water or sucking on ice chips can help prevent mucositis from chemotherapy.
Also known as dry mouth, xerostomia can be a frustrating and damaging side effect of chemotherapy treatment. If you are about to begin treatment for breast cancer, talk to Dr. Collins about how to help with dry mouth in case this becomes a problem.
Although cancer treatment can cause bleeding gums, it’s still important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine to prevent plaque buildup and infection.
Gum disease, also called periodontitis in its more serious stages, occurs from plaque buildup around teeth. Because so many oral problems can occur during breast cancer treatment, patients are at a higher risk for developing gum disease. It’s important to talk to Dr. Collins if you’re about to begin treatment or currently undergoing treatment so he can help you manage any oral pain so you can comfortably continue your oral hygiene routine.
Due to the compromising of the immune system during breast cancer treatment, patients are at much greater risk for infections of all kinds.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends that before treatment begins, patients should seek professional dental care to remove as much plaque as possible to prevent dental complications during treatment. In addition, fluoride toothpaste or gel along with products to help with potential side effects can help get patients prepared and in prevention mode.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, call Dr. Collins’ office today to schedule an appointment at 509-368-7788 so we can help get your mouth as healthy as possible before treatment begins.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788