How to Prep Your Teeth for Chemotherapy

How can I prepare my teeth for chemotherapy?

18592619Are you preparing your teeth for chemotherapy? You may not think that your teeth should be treated before cancer treatment, but it can really help. Chemotherapy can cause mouth sores because its intended to kill rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells. Some healthy cells in your body also divide and grow rapidly, including the cells that line the inside of your mouth. Unfortunately these healthy cells are also damaged by chemotherapy and radiation. Damage to the cells in your mouth makes it difficult for your mouth to heal itself and to fend off germs, leading to sores and infections. Author and cancer survivor, Robin McGee explains how you can help prevent this from happening in this video.

Video Transcripts

Robin McGee: If you are let’s say a rectal cancer patient and you are going to be going in for chemotherapy or a colon cancer patient, your surgery is done, you are going to go off for chemotherapy, go to the dentist. Oh, what a thought, you got to go to the dentist because I learned this later, dentist apparently has special skills that they can either do the work that you require or they can buff your teeth in a certain way that will minimize the risk of mouth sores. The kinds of chemotherapy that people with colorectal cancer get are really are known to create mouth sores and if you have correct dental care before you enter chemoradiation or before you go for chemo, it will significantly reduce the likelihood of you developing them very, very difficult and often even debilitating symptoms, so go to the dentist and let that dentist know what you are up against and that can really assist in avoiding side effects.

Robin McGee
Dr. Robin McGee is a Registered Clinical Psychologist, mother, wife, educator and friend. Living in Port Williams, Nova Scotia, she has been a dedicated clinician in health and education settings for over 25 years. Since entering remission, she has been very active in patient advocacy, serving as the patient representative on several provincial and national initiatives aimed at improving standards of cancer care.‏ Her book "The Cancer Olympics" details her journey with colon cancer, her search for justice with the College of Physicians, and her advocacy for fair drug policy with her government.


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