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Oral Mucositis

What is oral mucositis, and how is it treated?

When dealing with cancer and the treatments needed to restore your health, the last thing you might be thinking of is your next dental appointment. However, patients going through chemotherapy and radiation will want to be diligent about maintaining their oral health and working with their dentist to ensure their smile stays healthy during this time. One condition that can often occur in patients undergoing cancer treatment is that of oral mucositis. At The Center for Holistic Dental Medicine in Red Bank, New Jersey, we can help you with a proper diagnosis of this condition and effective treatment options to ensure comfort and address pain.

What is oral mucositis?

Dr. Glenn A. Macfarlane describes oral mucositis as a condition that causes painful ulcers in the mouth. These ulcers may be extremely painful or smaller, depending on a variety of factors. The ulcers may develop anywhere in the mouth but are commonly seen on the lips, back of the mouth, inside the cheeks, or on the tongue.

What causes oral mucositis?

Oral mucositis is commonly seen in patients who are having cancer treatments performed, including both chemotherapy and radiation. That happens because the cancer treatment has difficulty discerning what normal cells are and what cancer cells are. That causes the lining of the mouth to break down and the formation of these painful ulcers. These ulcers can develop anywhere after about one to two weeks of starting chemotherapy and may last several weeks before healing. Cycled chemotherapy and radiation may cause recurring ulcers.

How to treat oral mucositis

Oral mucositis often goes away on its own after chemotherapy and radiation have stopped, though relief can be found with pain medications or certain types of mouthwashes. Patients should also avoid crunchy, hard, acidic, or spicy foods, which can make the ulcers more painful.

Schedule an appointment today

If you are going through radiation therapy or chemotherapy, it might be time to talk to your dentist about the possibility of developing oral mucositis. Dr. Glenn A. MacFarlane and his team at The Center for Holistic Dental Medicine are here to help you deal with the side effects of treatment. The office is conveniently located at 211 Broad Street, Suite #106, and can be reached by phone to schedule an appointment at (732) 517-7785.