Oral Health Care during Cancer Therapy

  • Brush your teeth and tongue gently with an extra-soft toothbrush after every meal and at bedtime.
  • Floss teeth once a day but avoid areas that are bleeding or sore.
  • Don’t use mouthwash that contains alcohol.
  • Rinse mouth with a baking-soda and salt solution; then rinse with plain water. Do this several times a day.
  • Exercise the jaw muscles three times a day by gently opening and closing the mouth as far as possible (without pain) 20 times a day.
  • Avoid eating irritating or rough-textured foods, and use liquids to soften or thin food.
  • Talk with your physician about appropriate topical and systemic pain medications.
  • If you smoke or chew tobacco, ask for help in trying to quit! People who quit smoking or chewing tobacco have fewer oral complications from cancer treatment.


  • Sip water frequently.
  • Suck ice chips or sugar-free candy.
  • Chew sugar-free gum.
  • If appropriate, use a saliva substitute spray or gel, or prescription saliva stimulant.
  • Avoid lemon glycerin swabs.