Does radiation affect your teeth? Unfortunately, radiation, though an important tool in treating numerous varieties of cancer, can have some serious and unpleasant side effects that may have a negative impact on oral health. Radiation treatments on the head and neck, in particular, can complicate oral health. In addition to causing sores on gums and in and around the mouth, sometimes the salivary glands are damaged by the radiation, leading to long-term struggles with dry mouth.
Radiation can also make healing more difficult if dental surgery is needed following radiation treatment, especially if a tooth needs to be extracted post-treatment. Swelling and lymphedema—a buildup of lymph fluids—also can cause swallowing difficulty and oral pain. Although radiation techniques are improving, bothersome side effects still can cause patients considerable difficulty or discomfort.
If you have a tooth with a very high likelihood that it will need to be removed and are going to undergo radiation of the jaw, your dentist may recommend removing the tooth before radiation because of the potential healing problems that can occur after treatment. They may also recommend additional fluoride treatments to help improve and preserve tooth health.
Fatigue is the most commonly reported side effect of radiation treatment.
Tell your dentist about all treatments you will undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone. Your dentist will tailor treatment regimens to your specific situation. Maintain good home care practices, including regular brushing and flossing. Watch for signs of dry mouth and treat it promptly should it occur.
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CariFree products can help interrupt the disease process a number of ways, preventing the cavities from ever forming. The unique pH correcting formula of CariFree products helps make the oral environment unfavorable for acid-loving, caries causing bacteria. The high pH from the CariFree system also protects tooth enamel from having minerals dissolved away in acidic conditions. The products contain nano hydroxyapatite which the teeth can use to repair missing minerals from the enamel, particularly in the high pH environment the products create. Xylitol, a natural, non-nutritive sweetener, has several dental benefits. It makes bacteria less able to stick together in a tough to remove biofilm. Caries causing bacteria also eat the xylitol but cannot use it for energy or to reproduce. So, the bacteria starve to death while eating xylitol.
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