Taking Care of Your Teeth During Breast Cancer Treatment
By Dr. Kate Dudek
Breast cancer mortality rates are falling and, whilst this is unquestionably a good thing, it is important that clinicians and researchers consider the long term quality of life experienced by breast cancer survivors. There are a number of latent disorders that have been shown to appear during or after treatment and if these are left unmanaged they can cause further complications, discomfort and pain. An area of the body that may be neglected during cancer treatment is the mouth, and oral complications can be a significant issue for cancer patients.
Following a cancer diagnosis, and prior to commencing treatment, it is recommended that patients undergo a comprehensive dental examination. This way pre-existing conditions, such as residual cysts and partially erupted teeth, can be documented, managed and/or monitored. This lessens the burden of undergoing additional oral procedures once cancer treatment has commenced.
During treatment, some of the main oral complications include mucositis (inflammation and ulceration of the digestive tract), pain and mouth infections. Oral mucositis has a suspected overall incidence rate of 75-99% and is associated with a broad spectrum of chemotherapeutic agents, including anthracyclines and taxanes, which are both commonly used in breast cancer treatment. Specifically, women with breast cancer who undergo chemotherapy (of any type) have a 4% chance of suffering from severe mucositis. This in turn can lead to an inability, or unwillingness, to eat, causing nutritional deficiencies and weight loss. Thus, minimising the extent of the issue is of considerable importance. Unfortunately, there is no definitive treatment to eliminate oral mucositis and the main focus to date has been on providing symptomatic relief.
One way of avoiding complications is to reduce the chance of infection. Ulcerative lesions can render a patient susceptible to bacterial infection. Adopting a meticulous oral hygiene approach, incorporating brushing, with a soft toothbrush, flossing and gentle mouth rinses, can reduce the likelihood of infection. Using a toothpaste that is designed specifically for people undergoing cancer treatment can make keeping on top of your oral hygiene a lot easier. The Ozalys Essential Care Refreshing Toothpaste with Ginger restores oral hygiene. Its humectant-rich blend of ingredients brings soothing relief to a mouth that might otherwise feel dry and uncomfortable. The addition of zingiber officinale (ginger root extract) can also help to alleviate some of the nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy treatment, whilst the soft mint flavour freshens the mouth.
Ozalys’ products have been designed with women who have been affected by cancer in mind. Ozalys allows women to continue to care for themselves every day using products that innovate through their formulas, optimal absorption and packaging. Ozalys’ specially-formulated solutions are catered for physiological conditions that cause dermal sensitivity, or for the side effects of certain treatments that may result in olfactory and dermal ultra-sensitivity.
Ozalys’ personal hygiene, face and body care products have all been developed with the utmost care, minimising preservatives and excluding all substances suspected of being harmful to the body. Their highly soothing, moisturising and protective properties, as well as their delicate application and scent, turn daily beauty routines into moments of well-being and comfort.
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