Radiation therapy to the head and neck area may cause dry #mouth or thick saliva. Certain types of chemotherapy can also cause these issues. During chemotherapy or radiation to the head and neck area, saliva glands can become irritated. When this occurs, they make less saliva or produce saliva that is thick and sticky.
Dry mouth related to chemotherapy and head or neck radiation can be mild or severe. However, even a moderately dry mouth can increase the risk of cavities and infections of the mouth. Dry mouth, and its effects, are worse for patients who smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol.
In most cases, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can lessen the symptoms of dry mouth or thick saliva. Even foods with a high moisture content may also help. Practicing good oral hygiene is also recommended to treat dry mouth and thick saliva. Here are some other tips for dealing with dry mouth related to chemotherapy and head or neck radiation.
• When you eat, take small bites and chew your food well.
• Carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go, and try to drink between 8 and 10 glasses of liquid a day.
• Eat soft, moist foods that aren’t too hot. Foods that are cool or at room temperature are best.
• Avoid alcohol and acidic drinks. Also limit your caffeine intake.
• A humid environment may relieve dry mouth symptoms, so consider using a cool mist humidifier to moisten the air in your home.
• Fresh pineapple or papaya can counteract thick saliva, but this is not recommended for patients with a sore mouth.
• Sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugarless gum may help to stimulate saliva. Mint, citrus, or cinnamon flavored candy or gum is recommended.
• Avoid foods, such as peanut butter or dry bread, that have a tendency to stick to the roof of the mouth.
Of course, another effective way to treat dry mouth is with a hydrating mouth rinse. Prevention #Oncology Mouth Rinse is one great option for cancer patients who are suffering from dry mouth as well as other chemotherapy or radiation related treatments such as oral mucositis. Prevention Oncology Mouth Rinse does not require a prescription and is readily available from a variety of popular retailers. In addition to treating dry mouth, Prevention Oncology Mouth Rinse also helps to relieve pain, prevent infection, and prevent mouth sores.