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Add Your Dentist to the Cancer Treatment Team

Posted under Dental Health Tips on April 5th, 2012 | No Comments

More than one million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer each year, and about 40% will develop serious mouth problems as the result of treatment. Patients who undergo cancer treatment are sometimes unaware its affects on teeth, gums and salivary glands.

To give patients their best chance to fight cancer, add your dentists to the treatment team and visit the dentist before beginning radiation therapy. During treatment, the dentist can work with the oncologist and the patient to monitor any changes in their mouth and make recovery as comfortable as possible.

According to figures from the National Institute of Health, oral complications occur in almost all patients receiving radiation for head and neck malignancies, in more than 75% of bone marrow transplant recipients and in nearly 40% of patients receiving chemotherapy.

Oral side effects of cancer treatment can include:

  • Inflammation and ulceration of the mouth lining
  • Painful mouth and gums
  • Increased risk of developing oral and systemic infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Rampant tooth decay
  • Burning, peeling or swelling tongue
  • Stiffness in the jaw
  • Impaired ability to eat, speak or swallow
  • Change in ability to taste
  • Poor diet because of problems with eating

Add Dr. Andrew Huang of Santa Teresa Dental to be part of your cancer treatment team. Together we celebrate, remember and fight back.