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The Teeth in Chemo Times

We have talked to

Dr. Caroline Coen

Oncologists, radiologists, surgeons and psychologists are often the first people you think of when considering who will determine and guide your treatment path. However, it is important to include dentists in the medical team. Nowadays, it has long been known that oral health can influence the immune system. For breast cancer patients, however, pronounced oral hygiene is especially important for preventing or at least alleviating the manifestation of mucositis.

Oral mucositis is an inflammation of the oral mucosa. It is particularly problematic because it can be very painful and, depending on its severity, can lead to sufferers no longer wanting to eat. Similarly challenging are the so-called aphthae that many cancer patients develop. Aphtae are basically small inflamed, painful ulcers that also reduce appetite. Especially during cancer therapy, however, inadequate nutrition would weaken the body at a time when it needs to mobilize all its strength to get well.

“Unfortunately, as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, there is also often a metallic taste in the mouth that is very difficult to get rid of.” Caro has learned that this can be kept somewhat in check with good oral hygiene. In addition, lemon water or turmeric tea with pepper not only have anti-inflammatory effects, but also help reduce unwanted taste sensations.

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