Being proactive about oral mucositis

Before cancer treatment begins, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of severe oral mucositis, pain or infection developing.

Before treatment begins it is a good idea to visit the dentist at your hospital to sort out any existing dental issues, which may otherwise encourage infection once cancer treatment starts. Unfortunately, even people who haven’t had any tooth decay for a long time may develop cavities as a result of radiation to head and neck and/or chemotherapy. Your dentist should check for this throughout cancer treatment.

The most important aspect of preventing oral mucositis before and during treatment is good nutrition and oral hygiene. Developing a daily routine prior to chemotherapy or radiation, including tooth brushing with a soft brush twice a day and using mouth rinses, can also help prevent oral mucositis developing.

Speak to your doctor or nurse if you are worried about oral mucositis.

Download a managing oral mucositis patient factsheet for your own information and a nurse factsheet to give to your nurse.

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1. Papas AS et al. Bone Marrow Transplant 2003;31:705–712.