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Oral Hygiene in Oral Cancer Patients

Why is oral hygiene maintenance important for oral cancer patient?

  • Conditions or practices are conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness.

  • Oral hygiene carried out on a regular basis is essential to prevention of dental diseases.

  • Oral cancer patients have greater requirement for oral hygiene maintenance

  • There is alteration of structure and function of the oral cavity from the treatments for oral cancer

  • Maintenance of oral hygiene reduce risk of complications and decrease their severity

  • It reduces the chances of getting oral ulceration in patients who are on radiation or chemo-radiation.

Oral hygiene practices for Oral Cancer patients:

  • Brushing is far superior to gauze/ finger brushing/cotton tipped applicator

  • Brushing should be gentle but effective

  • Brush twice daily

  • Use Soft toothbrush regularly

  • Use extra-soft toothbrush during periods of mouth sores

  • Frequently change & disinfect toothbrushes

  • Smaller head brushes may be used for difficult to reach areas

Toothpaste & Anti-cavity agents
  • Use fluoridated toothpastes

  • Special remineralisation toothpaste may be prescribed to reverse initial cavities/tooth decay

  • Fluoride gel in applicator tray significantly decrease tooth decay

  • Avoid highly cariogenic foods (Sticky or sweet foodstuff)

Interdental Aids:
  • Floss/ use interdental brushes on daily basis

  • Be gentle & avoid injury

  • May need to be discontinued if excessive bleeding

  • Avoid using tooth picks

  • Irrigation devices should be used on minimal settings

Mouthwash/Mouth rinses
  • Rinse your mouth with water after each meal

  • Can be done with a solution of One litre of water with a pinch of salt and baking soda (10 times/ day)

  • Use Chlorhexidine Gluconate mouthwash (5-6 times/ day)

  • Avoid alcohol-based mouthwash

  • Avoid mouthwash with sweeteners

  • Use saline rinses intermittently for dry mouth

  • Bicarbonate (Baking powder) rinses useful for patient with vomiting

Denture care
  • Clean denture with brush

  • Soak in denture disinfectant

  • Dry the denture

  • Store denture in clean box

  • Thoroughly clean denture wearing areas & tongue

  • Avoid denture wear during night

  • Avoid denture wear during periods of soreness

Other Tips
  • It is mandatory to eliminate any areas of active disease or irritation from the mouth prior to starting any therapy

  • Dentist are an integral part of multi-disciplinary team caring for you. Please consult dentist prior/during /after your therapy. They will guide you regarding the best way to care for your mouth.

  • Regular visit to dentist helps prevent dental disease or helps to catch them early. This allows for simpler procedures to cure disease thereby preventing potential complications.

  • Regularly do self-oral examination to look for troublesome spots. Kindly bring them to notice of your healthcare provider.


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