Oral mucositis
St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

Oral mucositis

What to Expect

Radiation therapy or chemotherapy may cause mucositis (tissue swelling) in your mouth. You may have any of these symptoms:

  • Mouth pain
  • Mouth sores
  • Infection
  • Bleeding, if you are getting chemotherapy. Patients getting radiation therapy usually do not have an increased risk of bleeding.

In patients getting chemotherapy, mucositis will heal by itself when there is no infection. Healing usually takes 2 - 4 weeks. Mucositis caused by radiation therapy usually lasts 6 - 8 weeks. It will depend on how long you have radiation treatment.

Take Care of Your Mouth

Brush your teeth and gums 2 or 3 times a day for 2 to 3 minutes each time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

  • When you brush, rinse your brush in hot water every 30 seconds to keep the bristles soft.
  • Let your toothbrush air dry between brushings.
  • Choose toothpaste with care.

If toothpaste makes your mouth sore, brush with a solution of 1 teaspoon of salt mixed with 4 cups of water. Pour a small amount into a clean cup to dip your toothbrush into each time you brush. Use a toothpaste with fluoride.

Floss gently 1 time a day. Rinse your mouth 5 or 6 times a day. Use any of these solutions when you rinse:

  • 1 teaspoon of salt in 4 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup (8 ounces) of water
  • One half teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons baking soda in 4 cups of water

Avoid rinses that have alcohol in them. You may use an antibacterial rinse 2 - 4 times a day for gum disease. Rinse for 1 - 2 minutes each time.

Do not eat foods or drinks that have a lot of sugar in them. They may cause tooth decay. Use lip care products to keep your lips from drying out and cracking. Sip water to ease mouth dryness.

Pain Relief

Ask your doctor about these treatments you can use in your mouth:

  • Bland rinses
  • Mucosal coating agents
  • Water-soluble lubricating agents, including artificial saliva
  • Painkillers

Your doctor may also give you pills for pain or drugs to fight infection in your mouth.

References

National Cancer Institute. Oral complications of chemotherapy and head/neck radiation (PDQ). September 16, 2011. Accessed May 19, 2012.


Review Date: 6/5/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 


Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile