After cancer treatment, you may find yourself experiencing some dental issues or simply needing a regular checkup. As you're working toward your best health, don't forget to take care of your mouth. After all, it is the gateway to the rest of your body. Here are some things to consider after completing treatment.
Visit Your Dentist
Routine check-ups and cleanings are essential, so visit your dentist on a regular basis. Due to the effects of cancer treatment, you may have moderate to severe tooth decay as a result of dry mouth since saliva (spit) is essential in rinsing the mouth of food particles and plaque. Treatment may include filling cavities, root canals, or crown and bridge work.
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
Cleaning between your teeth once a day with floss or another product made to clean between your teeth will help remove plaque from your teeth and gums.
Rinse Your Mouth Often
This will help keep food and debris off of your teeth and gums. Avoid rinses that have alcohol in them. Rinsing often, along with regular brushing and flossing, may help to reduce the chance of dental decay and infection.
Eat Nutritious Foods
Eating healthy foods rich with vitamins and nutrients can help boost your immune system. Your individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors, but according to MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced and healthy diet should include:
- Fruits and vegetables. Combined, these should cover half your plate at meals.
- Grains. At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
- Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods most often.
- Protein. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Vary your protein choices to also include eggs, beans, peas and legumes. Eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week.