Sore / Dry Mouth

Radiation treatment to the mouth causes changes in the salivary gland and the lining of the mouth resulting in a dry, sore mouth. This problem requires special care to prevent infection and dental problems as well as discomfort. The mouth sores will heal soon after treatment is completed but the dryness may continue indefinitely.

Mouth Care

  • DO NOT wear any mouth appliances such as retainers, bridges or dentures except at meals.
  • Keep your mouth very clean by rinsing your mouth frequently (about every 2 hours and repeat after meals) with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda in 1 quart warm water.
  • Keep lips moist by applying lip balm to your lips.
  • If the air is dry, put a humidifier in your bedroom to use while you sleep.
  • AVOID OVER-THE-COUNTER MOUTHWASH. These products will dry out your mouth.
  • Inspect your mouth every day for bleeding or white patches and notify the therapist if any occur.

Management of Dry Mouth Conditions

  • Drink lots of water to keep mouth moist.
  • Eat soft, moist foods at cool, room temperature. Moisten foods with broths, soups, and gravy. AVOID HOT, SPICY, ACIDIC and SALTY FOODS.
  • Suck on sugar-free hard candy, popsicles or ice chips to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush on your teeth and gums with fluoride-containing toothpaste.