The effects of cancer or its treatment can lead to mouth problems such as a dry mouth, infection or ulcers. These can affect eating and drinking as well as your ability to talk comfortably. Following a regular mouth care routine can help to prevent or lessen mouth problems.
Mouth care routine
- Brush your teeth every morning and evening using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride.
- Provided it isn’t sore, gently brush your tongue when cleaning your teeth.
- Use water or an alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse your mouth after meals. You can do this more often if needed to keep your mouth fresh. You can make a mouthwash with one teaspoon of salt dissolved in 250ml of fresh water.
- Rinse dentures after meals.
- Remove dentures at night. Clean them with a toothbrush and toothpaste or denture paste. Soak overnight in a denture solution containing sodium hypochlorite, (eg1tsp of Milton® in 400ml water). NB If dentures have metal parts use chlorhexidine solution instead. Rinse dentures well before use.
- If your doctor prescribes a mouthwash for you, use it regularly as prescribed.
- Use dental tape or floss daily (gently).
- Keep you lips moist by using Vaseline, or a flavoured lip balm.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- If your mouth does become sore cut food into small pieces and mix with sauces and gravy to make chewing and swallowing more comfortable. Avoid rough or dry foods, spicy and salty foods and citrus fruits as they will cause irritation. Applying a mouth gel before eating may help too.