Undergoing chemotherapy is both physically and emotionally demanding. The physical side effects can be exhausting and uncomfortable. Mouth sores from chemotherapy are the most common side effect experienced by patients, because chemical therapy decreases the white blood cell count leaving the body more susceptible to infection. These mouth ulcers occur as a result of the decrease in the body’s ability to replace the cells of the mucous lining at a normal rate. During chemotherapy the body’s natural process of dividing and reproducing cells is altered. Because both cancerous and healthy cells are affected, oral tissue can become damaged. These painful oral sores and infections can make simple activities like eating or even talking very difficult. The best treatment for mouth sores from chemotherapy involves frequent self-inspections, regular communication with a dental professional and a good oral care routine with alcohol and chemical free natural products.
Why use natural toothpastes and mouth rinses?
One of the most important changes to make when beginning chemotherapy treatment is to choose oral care products that are as gentle as they are effective. Ingredients such as alcohol and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which are found in most commercial brand toothpastes and mouthwashes, can be too harsh on oral tissue that is at a heightened risk for mouth ulcers and infection. Chemotherapy reduces the amount of saliva, and because saliva is critical in protecting teeth and keeping the mouth clean, inadequate production increases the chance of developing cavities and periodontal disease. The drying properties of alcohol exacerbate dry mouth, and products containing alcohol should be avoided during treatment. In addition, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) has been identified as a possible trigger for mouth ulcers—especially in those already prone to them1. For this reason, it is also advisable not to use toothpastes and mouth rinses that have SLS as an additive.
Regular oral care products might keep your mouth clean, but when your immune system is compromised, using natural alternatives to alleviate discomfort, prevent infection, and control halitosis is essential. A toothpaste and mouth rinse containing essential oils is the best choice when trying to combat uncomfortable side effects from chemotherapy. Natural oral care products offer anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties—all of which are advantageous during chemotherapy.
The fungal infection oral thrush is commonly diagnosed in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Caused by an overgrowth of yeast, thrush usually appears as white patches on the tongue and inner cheeks, although it can also show up on the roof of the mouth and gums. While thrush can be treated with medication, there are potentially negative side effects associated with many of these medications. While undergoing chemotherapy, it is important to seek treatments that won’t cause additional or unnecessary complications.
Studies have shown that the essential oils of peppermint and lavender contain powerful anti-fungal properties that help to eliminate oral yeast infections2. Both are prized for their antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic benefits. These two essential oils play a fundamental role in Dental Herb Company’s Tooth & Gums System. This unique system is comprised of four Truly Natural® products: Tooth & Gums Tonic, Tooth & Gums Paste, Under the Gums Irrigant, and Tooth & Gums Spritz. Each product is made from a combination of five essential oils (red thyme, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint) and two herbal extracts (echinacea and gotu kola) which work together synergistically to help prevent periodontal disease and maintain a balanced and healthy oral environment.
Good oral health care during chemotherapy is crucial to ensure that teeth and gums remain healthy throughout treatment. Choosing the right products can help make a difference. When looking for a mouth rinse for chemotherapy or toothpaste for chemotherapy, consider high-quality products from Dental Herb Company, now available for purchase online.
- Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Canker Sore Causes.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, n.d. Web. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/canker-sore/DS00354/DSECTION=causes>.
- HY, Kang, Na SS, and Kim YK. “Effects of Oral Care with Essential Oil on Improvement in Oral Health Status of Hospice Patients.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20820114>.