Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for everyone, especially for individuals diagnosed with blood cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments can weaken the immune system, making oral health even more important. Here are some tips to help blood cancer patients maintain proper oral hygiene:

  1. Regular dental check-ups: Visit your dentist regularly, especially before starting cancer treatments. Inform them about your diagnosis and treatment plan so they can tailor your dental care accordingly.
  2. Daily brushing and flossing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between teeth and along the gumline.
  3. Use a gentle touch: If your gums are sensitive or bleeding due to treatment, be extra gentle when brushing and flossing. Use a soft touch and consider using a toothbrush with extra-soft bristles.
  4. Rinse with mouthwash: Use an alcohol-free, antimicrobial mouthwash or a saltwater rinse to help kill bacteria in your mouth and alleviate any discomfort or mild mouth sores. Ask your healthcare team for recommendations.
  5. Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated helps maintain a healthy mouth. Sip water regularly throughout the day to prevent dry mouth, a common side effect of cancer treatments that can lead to tooth decay and oral infections.
  6. Avoid tobacco and alcohol: Both tobacco and alcohol can increase the risk of oral complications. If you are a tobacco user, ask your healthcare provider for resources and support to quit. Limit alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether during treatment.
  7. Maintain a nutritious diet: Proper nutrition supports oral health. Consume a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit sugary and acidic foods and beverages, as they increase the risk of tooth decay.
  8. Use oral moisturizers: If you experience dry mouth, speak with your healthcare team about artificial saliva or oral moisturizing products to keep your mouth moist and comfortable.
  9. Practice good denture care: If you wear dentures, clean them daily and remove them at night to give your mouth a break. Follow your dentist’s recommendations for denture maintenance.
  10. Communicate with your healthcare team: Inform your oncologist and dental professionals about any oral changes or concerns you experience during cancer treatment. They can provide additional guidance, recommend special oral products, or prescribe medications if needed.

Remember, each individual’s situation may vary, so it’s important to consult with your healthcare team and dentist to create an oral hygiene routine tailored to your specific needs. Proper oral care can help minimize complications, maintain your oral health, and promote overall well-being throughout your cancer journey.

By Sue