Dry mouth or xerostomia is an uncomfortable side effect of cancer treatment. It is caused by numerous factors that persons being treated for cancer are exposed to. These side effects can be reduced or controlled to a certain extent and provide relief.
Xerostomia could be the side effects of chemotherapy, anti–depressants, diuretics or pain medications. When the salivary glands are exposed to radiation, known as radiation therapy, dry mouth is an inevitable result. This could be a lifetime problem as the salivary glands which produce saliva do not return to normal.
Dehydration or fungal infection of the mouth may lead to a dry mouth as well. A dry mouth can be treated in the following ways.
- Keep lips and mouth constantly moist.
- Rinse mouth every two hours with water in which salt or baking soda is dissolved (1 teaspoon to every 8 ounces of water.)
- Use mouthwash, toothpaste and chewing gum and other products that have the pH of saliva.
- Apply lip moisturizer or lip balm.
- Keep mouth and teeth clean.
- Use a soft tooth brush and mouth swabs 3 or 4 times a day. Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes
- Clean dentures.
- Floss gently with unwaxed floss.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid a day. This tends to thin out the mucous tends to thin out and loosen it.
- Decrease the intake of coffee, tea and alcohol which contribute to dry mouth.
- Have a soft, high protein diet.
- Have fish, eggs and cheese instead of red meat.
- Avoid dry foods like bread, pastries and salty snacks.
- Do not have citric foods, juices and sauces.
- Avoid fizzy sodas.
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