About Me

Den's Dental Blog

Hello! My name is Den. This blog is going to cover a range of dental topics. I am not a dentist or a dental nurse but I have recently undergone a lot of dental treatment. This treatment has given me a great insight into the world of dentistry and I would like to share everything I have learnt with you here. Last year, I developed terrible pain in my mouth. I was diagnosed with severe tooth decay. The dentist removed the problem teeth and then inserted false ones in their place. He also whitened my teeth to improve my smile. I hope you find my blog useful.


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Den's Dental Blog

How Chemotherapy Affects Your Dental Health

by Myrtle Banks

Being diagnosed with cancer and told that you will soon need to begin chemotherapy is a distressing and unsettling time for anyone. It's entirely up to you who you choose to inform about your diagnosis. While family and friends will likely be first on the list, there's someone who should be kept in the loop: your dentist.

See Your Dentist

There may be a limited window of opportunity between your diagnosis and the commencement of chemotherapy, and it's advantageous to use this time to see your dentist. It doesn't matter if you don't have any specific dental concerns, or if it's some months until your next scheduled checkup—it's wise to make an appointment prior to the start of your chemotherapy. But why? It can help to know how chemotherapy can affect your dental health.

Healthy Cells

Although chemotherapy targets cancerous cells, healthy cells can be collateral damage. This can be evident in your mouth. Consider the regenerative capabilities of your gingival tissues. Damage and irritation are often fleeting, repairing gingival tissues with remarkable efficiency because the cells in your mouth divide with great speed, which permits this regeneration. 

Gingival Tissues

Chemotherapy can affect this cell division, which subsequently affects the mouth's ability to heal itself. Gingival tissues can become thin, making your gums more prone to infections and ulcerations. Your immune system is also under strain, diminishing your ability to regulate the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth. Again, this makes you more susceptible to infections, such as gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease. 

Strengthening Your Defences

Seeing your dentist prior to the start of your chemotherapy treatment allows your mouth to strengthen its defences against the potential impact of your treatment. Your dentist will perform a scale and polish to remove plaque and tartar, which helps to prevent bacterial infections. Any pressing dental concerns that might be identified (such as a cavity) will also be addressed. 

Practical Tips

Your dentist will also be able to give you many practical tips for maintaining your dental health during your chemotherapy. This can include simple advice such as staying hydrated so that your body's saliva production remains unaffected by your treatment along with recommending various hygiene methods and products that will be kinder when your gums become more sensitive. This can be as straightforward as replacing alcohol-based mouthwash with a saltwater rinse.

Think of seeing your dentist after a cancer diagnosis as a way to boost your mouth's defences before they become tested. Some dental treatments (particularly elective procedures) are not possible during chemotherapy, so it's crucial that your dental health is assessed as soon as possible after your diagnosis.