If you’re suffering from dry mouth thanks to radiation treatments or chemotherapy, your oncologist may advise you to pick up some artificial saliva or a specially formulated oncology mouthwash. Depending on the exact variety, you can expect something that soothes mouth sores, kills harmful bacteria, and otherwise lubricates the mouth to make it easier to bite, chew, and swallow food. But what happens once the treatments end and you get your saliva back?
You don’t need to throw the mouthwash bottle away once your dry mouth days are over. In the first place, fighting cancer is complicated and can go through several stages of treatment, so just because you finished up one treatment plan that caused dry mouth doesn’t mean you’ll be free of it in the future.
In the second place, a mouthwash formulated for oncology patients with dry mouth is still a mouthwash, and it’s a mouthwash that doesn’t use alcohol since alcohol can aggravate mouth sores. Thus, an oncology mouthwash can help you out the next time you get cold sores or a canker sore, and you can even use it on a daily basis to kill the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Unlike the chemotherapy drugs, an over-the-counter oncology mouthwash is perfectly safe to use without a prescription.
You should always remember to get rid of any leftover medication after you no longer need it, but some drugs are safe and useful enough to continue using them even after you don’t need them for their primary purpose. A cold and flu painkiller is still a painkiller in a pinch, calcium tablets fight heartburn and supplement your diet, and an oncology mouthwash is still a mouthwash.