Dealing with problems
- Use a soft toothbrush and an alcohol free mouthwash 3–4 times a day after meals
- Sucking on ice chips/ice blocks can help ease the soreness
- If pain is stopping you from eating and drinking you may need pain relief medication, talk with your doctor about pain relief.
- Infection (thrush/candida) appears as white patches on the tongue or inside the mouth. This can be treated with a liquid anti-fungal medication; speak with your specialist about suitable medication.
- Regular mouth care after each meal (cleaning teeth, alcohol free mouthwash)
- Sucking sugar free sweets or chewing gum can encourage saliva production
- Sips of water during the day can help keep the mouth moist, drink fluid with meals including gravy or sauces
- Avoid dry foods such as biscuits, crackers, dry snacks, toast
- Avoid smoking, alcohol (alcohol is drying to the mouth) and drinks containing caffeine
- Artificial saliva products can be brought from pharmacies and are best used before meals and at night to prevent a sleepless night from dry mouth
- Keep a glass of water beside your bed at night.
- Eat small frequent meals
- Choose foods that look and smell good to you
- Eat in pleasant surroundings, avoid bad odours
- See hints for dry mouth – as these also help dealing with any taste changes
- Chew flavoured gum or suck mints.
This could mean that your platelet count is low. Platelets are cells that clot the blood together and prevent bleeding. You will need to contact your doctor/treatment centre.
Your mouth will return to normal after treatment is finished. These problems are temporary. The exception to this may be those having treatment for head and neck cancers.
Problems in your mouth can usually be prevented, treated and relieved. Seek help from your doctor or nurse as soon as symptoms occur. Dentists, dieticians, speech pathologists and other specialists are available to help you. These services are available at hospitals and community health centres.