How To Prevent Cavities After Receiving Cancer Treatment

Dentist Articles

If you have recently gone through radiation or chemotherapy to treat cancer, then you may be susceptible to cavities after your treatment is over.  This happens because your immune system does not work properly after your receive the treatments.  The body does not produce white blood cells and the bacteria in your mouth are able to grow out of control.  Once you complete your chemotherapy and radiation, consult your dentist and follow the tips below to make sure that you do not develop a multitude of cavities in your teeth.

Drink Water Throughout The Day

Cavities are likely to form in the teeth after cancer treatments due to immune system deficiencies, but poor saliva production can cause problems as well.  Cancer treatments damage the salivary glands, and they also cause the saliva to become thicker than normal.  The saliva glands can remain damaged for some time after cancer treatments are discontinued and this means that the mouth will likely be quite dry.  A dry mouth means that bacteria and food particles will remain and cavities are likely.  You can prevent this issue by making sure to keep your mouth moist.

The easiest way to moisten the mouth is to drink water throughout the day.  One or two sips of fluid every 10 or 15 minutes is a good idea.  Consider carrying a water bottle around with you so you have access to water.  Bottles that can hold 40 ounces of fluid are a good choice.  You need to consume about two or two and half liters of water as day to remain healthy.  If you fill the 40 ounce bottle two times, then you will meet your water intake needs.

If you decide to use a water bottle, just make sure to buy a metal one.  Plastic water containers may leach BPA into the water and cause health concerns.  Also, find a bottle with a strap or carabiner attachment, so it is easier to carry your container.

Eat Healthy Foods

Most people have difficulties eating solid foods when they go through cancer treatments.  Nausea, taste changes, and fatigue can all cause you to loose interest in food.  Unfortunately, when you stop eating hearty and fresh foods, your body is not nourished like it should be.  Your teeth do not receive the minerals they need to remain strong.  Even if you do end up eating vitamin and mineral rich foods, the nutrients will likely be absorbed by the bones.  Also, your body naturally maintains a specific calcium content within the blood and the nutrient will supply the blood before it moves to the bones or the teeth.

Once you are able to start eating solid foods again, it is in your best interest to bulk up on foods that will provide your teeth with the nutrients they need.  This will help to remineralize the enamel that has been worn away during your cancer treatments.  Vitamin D, calcium, vitamin K, and phosphorous are all required.  Calcium and vitamin D can easily be added to the diet by eating cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy foods.  Vitamin K can be found in foods like kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and peas.  Eat foods like salmon, nuts, beef, pork, and tofu for more phosphorous.

Also, think about eating more foods that are high in vitamin C.  Vitamin C is needed for a healthy immune system, and the immune system can fight off the bacteria in your mouth.  This helps to keep microorganisms away from soft or thin dental enamel.  Citrus fruits contain a good deal of vitamin C, and so do foods like bell peppers, kiwis, strawberries, papayas, and tomatoes.

If you have gone through cancer treatments within the last year, then you should know that your teeth are susceptible to the formation of cavities.  You can minimize decay risks though, by drinking water and by eating foods that will remineralize the enamel.


7 April 2015