Oral hygiene is important, but it’s even more important when you’re facing a cancer diagnosis. Your treatment may cause side effects that affect your mouth including dry mouth and mouth sores. Taking the proper steps to care for your mouth can lessen the chances of infection and maintain a healthy smile.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Cancer Patients

  • Have your teeth cleaned before cancer treatment and then every three to four months after completion of treatment.
  • Remove any partial or complete dentures from your mouth while sleeping.
  • Use a denture brush and water to clean your dentures. Soak them in an antimicrobial denture solution, if necessary.
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush with toothpaste when brushing. If your mouth is sore, use a “toothette” (oral foam sponge) or washcloth.
  • Floss and use fluoride daily with your natural teeth.
  • If you are experiencing dry mouth, drink lots of water, use sugarless gum or hard candy, and/or use a saliva substitute.
  • Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol or full strength peroxide. Alternatively, you can use baking soda or salt water solutions.
  • Avoid tobacco products and alcoholic drinks.
  • Avoid hard, sharp and crunchy foods, foods that are hot, spicy, sugary and acidic.
Image of post author
Article by: Zafrulla Khan, DDS, MS

Dr. Zafrulla Khan is director of Maxillofacial/Oncologic Dentistry at UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center. He is a professor of prosthodontics at UofL School of Dentistry and associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and Radiation Oncology. Dr. Khan is a diplomat of the American Board of Prosthodontics, Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontics and American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics. He is fellowship-trained in Maxillofacial Prosthetics and Dental Oncology from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

All posts by Zafrulla Khan, DDS, MS
Calendar icon that indicates scheduling an appointment
Schedule an