Oral Health Care For Cancer Patients Is Important
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer and told that their treatment protocol will include chemotherapy, their mind often jumps to the most familiar side effect of that regimen – the loss of their hair. Chemotherapy causes hair loss because it attacks rapidly dividing cells – and it can’t distinguish between healthy cells and those that are malignant. Though the impact on growing hair is what is most obvious to the casual observer, there are many other areas of the body that are populated by healthy rapidly dividing cells, and the mouth is one of them.
The general discomfort that chemotherapy causes in cancer patients is often exacerbated by problems within their mouths. Those who already had dental problems such as cavities or gum disease may find that their symptoms become much worse or that their dental decay advances more rapidly. Even patients who have never had any dental problems often experience bleeding, swollen gums or painful sores and ulcers in their mouths.
Though most mouth sores generally go away within a week or two, some can become infected by bacteria or yeast, and the interior of the mouth is also generally much more vulnerable to sharp objects. Researchers have found that there are a few steps that patients can take when they are receiving chemotherapy to head off some of these problems, including sucking on ice chips or sugar-free popsicles during their treatment. As simple as these steps may seem, studies have shown that doing so can actually decrease the incidence of mouth sores by up to sixty percent.
In addition to taking these preventative steps, there are a number of products available for cancer patients that provide relief once sores or other dental problems arise. Here are some of the most popular and effective products on the market today.
Mouthwash and Oral Rinse Products for Cancer Patients Going Through Chemo and Radiation
- The Natural Dentist Mouth Rinse
This product was originally created as a natural alternative to traditional mouth rinses, but was discovered to be particularly helpful for those suffering from the side effects of cancer treatments. The Natural Dentist Mouth Rinse contains all natural ingredients and is high in phytonutrients that decrease inflammation. It also contains a therapeutic dose of aloe vera to provide healing. It contains no alcohol or other ingredients that can cause discomfort.
Though not created or marketed specifically for cancer patients, Biotene is one of the most highly-recommended products on the market for the symptoms of dry mouth. Its formula contains no alcohol or harsh ingredients.
- Prevention Oncology Mouth Rinse
This product has been formulated specifically for use by patients undergoing chemotherapy and gamma ray therapy, both of which can cause dry mouth and ulcers. It fights thrush and other yeast infections that commonly afflict those receiving chemotherapy. It contains no alcohol, dyes or petroleum products, and is largely made of glycerin, peppermint, menthol and zinc.
- Carifree CTx3 Rinse
This product contains fluoride and helps to prevent dental decay and gingivitis, yet contains no alcohol or harsh ingredients. It neutralizes the pH levels in the mouth and maintains a healthy oral environment while eliminating the painful symptoms of dry mouth.
- Aesop Mouthwash
This mouthwash prevents and addresses the bad breath that is often experienced as a result of chemotherapy, and does so without the irritation of alcohol or other harsh ingredients.
MuGard® Oral Mucoadhesive is indicated for the management of oral mucositis/stomatitis (that may be caused by radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy) and all types of oral wounds (mouth sores and injuries), including aphthous ulcers/canker sores and traumatic ulcers, such as those caused by oral surgery or ill-fitting dentures or braces.
Co-pay Assistance Program and Patient Assistance Programs are available for MuGard: https://www.mugard.com/patient-access/
FINANCIAL HELP FOR CANCER PATIENTS
At Fifth Season Financial, we understand the challenges of seeking out financial help for cancer patients, whether its for yourself or a loved one with cancer. We know unexpected financial expenses occur for various products, and lifestyle changes required for a patient facing a difficult medical diagnosis can be expensive. We offer a practical solution that can provide large-sum advances from individual’s life insurance policies, all without incurring further debt and still allowing funds to remain for beneficiaries. Contact us today to learn more!