Dental Hygienist Who Survived Breast Cancer Shares Tips for Chemo and Dry Mouth
Christina is committed to encouraging other cancer fighters by sharing about her own journey through breast cancer. See her share about losing her dad just a few days before chemo here.
While she has shared about wigs, chemo ports, and cancer keepsake boxes, perhaps her area of highest expertise is in chemo and dry mouth. Not only did Christina go through dry mouth as a side effect of chemo (as well as other oral complications), but she is a dental hygienist and an expert in how to keep your mouth healthy and clean!
In addition to a host of other unpleasant side effects, chemo can cause dry mouth, mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, and even tooth decay. Dry mouth is especially troublesome because, not only is it uncomfortable, but it creates an acidic environment that promotes tooth decay and makes it hard to chew food.
After talking a bit about dry mouth in general and why it’s a problem, Christina launches into sharing about all the different products she tried, with mixed success, to keep her mouth moist and comfortable during her chemo treatments. Some products she loved and recommends highly, while there are others she tries to steer us away from. These recommendations are great for anyone experiencing dry mouth regardless of the cause.
Her most important piece of advice? Sip water throughout the day. That will help clear the oral cavity and keep your mouth moist. Staying hydrated can also help you prevent urinary tract infections—another possible side effect of chemotherapy.
She also shares about strategies to deal with other painful and uncomfortable side effects: vomiting, mucositis, Burning Mouth Syndrome. She actually recommends not brushing your teeth after vomiting and being careful about strong mint or spicy flavors. And definitely avoid products with alcohol in them if you’re dealing with burning mouth sensations.
The video is about 15 minutes long and definitely worth watching all the way through, but here’s a quick road map:
- First 2 minutes: Explanation of dry mouth and why it’s an issue.
- Minute 2 to about minute 8: Products to try and products to avoid.
- Minute 8 to minute 10: Ingredients and foods to avoid.
- Minute 10 to about 11:45: Products for mouth sores
- About 11:45 to minute 13: Recommendations for dealing with other mouth-related chemo side effects.
- Minute 13 to end: When to go to your dentist (and when not to) during your cancer treatment.
We hope you find this video helpful, and we’re grateful to Christina for sharing her expertise! Keep fighting, friends!