Cancer Treatment, chemotherapy & Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth is my personal nemesis right now. I have been undergoing chemotherapy for the last three and a half years and one of the side effects that is cumulative for me is dry mouth! It’s not just about comfort, it can cause physical damage to your mouth, tongue and teeth.

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments cause dry mouth by damaging the salivary glands. Chemotherapy causes dry mouth by making saliva thicker. But this is usually a temporary symptom that clears up about two to eight weeks after treatment ends. Radiation therapy to the head, face, or neck may also cause dry mouth.”

I recently changed medicines and now my dry mouth is extreme so it seemed like a good time to do some research on Foods & Dry Mouth relief.

There are a couple of prescription products available here in the US but the ones I have run across leave a lot to be desired. They are quite expensive and the relief is very short term. My favorite part of the last one I tried was the instructions to use every two hours and not eat or drink anything an hour after using. Talk about having to schedule your day!

I liked a lot of the suggestions on this page. Though nutritionally speaking I might make a few changes for anyone reading it. Xylitol is a sweetener that is used in a lot of commercial dry mouth products. You can also buy it as a stand alone sweetener or as mints or gum. One big word of warning – It is EXTREMELY poisonous to DOGS. Do not keep this anywhere that there are dogs. You just know that they will find it.

Sugar should be avoided in general and specifically for people trying to deal with cancer, but sugary candy can feel excellent on a very dry mouth. Throat drops usually count as sugary candy so be careful about the amount you are getting in a day.

Eat more fruit. If you can eat citrus, eat citrus. I also found that pickled beets of all things offered some great relief. Pickles and any sour foods will help but be careful of your salt content. I see a few places recommend cheeses and other places don’t. I don’t eat a lot of cheese, but I can tell you cheeses like Feta can really suck any existing moisture right on out. 🙁

The one big piece of advice is of course drink, drink, drink. Always have a glass or a bottle of something at your elbow.

My last piece of advice is BRUSH YOUR TEETH often! Mint may cause you some problems so try different things, but your teeth will be damaged by all of the sugar you are sucking on and by the changes to your saliva.

 

 

Any Thoughts?