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Mucositis is an inflammation of the oral cavity or mouth sores and a side effect of radiation therapy to the head and neck area and usually begins 1-2 weeks after therapy is started and may persist for many weeks. Depth of penetration, number, and frequency of radiation treatments influence the intensity and duration of mucositis. It is a self limiting (resolves on its own) and generally subsides 2-4 weeks after treatment.

Helpful Hints to alleviate discomfort:
  • Keep mouth moist. Rinse mouth frequently with water (at least every 4 hours)
  • Humidify the room May use artificial saliva
  • Apply lip lubrication frequently and generously ( Blistex or baby oil)
  • Use a baby soft toothbrush or clean dentures after every meal
  • Wear proper fitting dentures and do not wear if mouth is sore Do not use mouth washes containing alcohol nor use glycerin swabs due to the drying effects
  • May also substitute a tongue blade wrapped in gauze as an alternative to a tooth brush
  • Avoid foods that are hot, rough, coarse, highly spiced or acidic
  • Avoid extreme temperatures of food (such as ice cream or hot coffee)
  • Avoid citrus juices or foods that irritate the mouth Drink soft food from a cup or through a straw if you are having trouble eating with a fork or spoon
  • Control pain with prescribed oral analgesics

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