Radiotherapy and your teeth

Radiotherapy is used as an effective treatment for a variety of cancers. However radiotherapy can result in unwanted side effects. Most side effects will go away with time and there are ways to reduce the problems they cause.

Side effects vary considerably and two people with the same treatment may react quite differently. It is important to discuss any side effects you may notice. Particular problems may occur which effect your dental health. Remember to discuss the importance of cleaning and fluoride during this time. An electric tooth brush may assist in this tiring time.

Nausea
Please discuss this with your doctor. It is important that you try to eat and drink properly as your body needs to get the calories and nutrients necessary. If you are actually vomiting the acid from your stomach can effect the enamel on your teeth. If you vomit rinse your mouth with water but don't clean your teeth immediately afterwards as the teeth will be very vulnerable to be damaged by cleaning vigorously at this stage. Let the natural healing properties of your saliva have a chance to work.

Loss of appetite
Sometimes your sense of taste can be effected by radiotherapy. Try different ways of adding flavor to your food but be very careful about adding such flavorings as lemon juice as this is a natural acid and may damage the enamel on your teeth.

Dry mouth
Please look at our suggestions for helping you cope with a dry mouth.

Help
Support and information is available on the
Anti-Cancer Council web site

See also :
Cancer treatment and your teeth
Bisphosphonates and Osteoporosis

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03 9882 4444

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Monash University Health Service Dental Clinic (Clayton)
21 Chancellors Walk, Building 10,
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03 9905 1000
dental.uhs@monash.edu

Camberwell Dental Group

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Dr Erik Magee BDSc (Melb)
Dr Stephen Liew BDSc (Mel), FPFA, FADI, MAICD, FICD
Dr Sue King BDSc (Melb)
Dr Lin Liang BDSc (Hons Melb)
Dr Edward Ounapuu BDSc (Adel)
Dr Marjan Ardebili BDS (Manchester,UK), MFDS (RCS Ed)
Dr Nigel Gamage BDSc (Sheffield)
Dr Balakka Reddy BDSc
Mr Roland Barrowman Grad.Dip(OMS), MBBS, FRACDS(OMS)

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