Radiation to the head and neck area lessens the amount of saliva that your mouth membranes produce causing a thickening of the saliva. Decreased saliva production begins 7-10 days after radiation therapy is initiated, reaching its peak within 2-3 weeks and may persist weeks to months after radiation treatment is completed.
Drink frequently and be sure to have liquids available to you. Keep liquids at the bedside and use a humidifier when sleeping.
Suck on ice chips or ice cubes that you can make from a favorite drink.
Suck on sugar-free hard candy or popsicles or chew sugarfree gum to help stimulate saliva production.
Sip beverages between bites of food during meals.
Try sweet or tart foods and drinks ie: lemonade to help stimulate saliva production **(avoid if mouth sores are present).
Avoid hot, spicy or acidic foods.
Eat soft, bland foods or cool or cold foods with a high liquid content ie: ice cream, popsicles, puddings, watermelon, and seedless grapes. Adding gravies, sauces, melted butter, broths, mayonnaise, yogurt, or salad dressing to solid foods may make them easier to swallow.
Try a pureed or full liquid diet with fruit juices or nectars. Liquid protein drinks high in protein and calories may also be an option.
If secretions become thick, drink a salt & soda mixture of one quart of water with one teaspoon of salt and one of baking soda or try drinking Club Soda.
Avoid breathing through your mouth.
Inspect your mouth every morning for white patches.
Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
Brush your mouth and teeth frequently with Q very soft bristled toothbrush. do not use commercial mouthwashes because they contain alcohol. You may make your own mouthwash by mixing: 1 quart of warm water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 teaspoon of salt.
May purchase artificial saliva