October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the team at Susan Ellison Dentistry & Cosmetics is committed to spreading awareness throughout the next few weeks. Not many people realize the impact that breast cancer (or any cancer) can have on your dental health. From the disease itself to the treatment, here are some things you should know.
How Breast Cancer Affects Your Dental Health
Our teeth and gums are not only the gateway to the rest of our body, but they can also be our body’s alert system. When we are sick or suffering from a disease, our teeth and gums are often the first to show signs. But, it isn’t just the disease itself that can change the health of our teeth . . . but the treatment.
Breast cancer patients undergo difficult chemotherapy and radiation treatments, both of which impact the teeth and gums. Not only does this treatment kill of cancer cells, but it kills off healthy cells as well. Here are some things that breast cancer patients have experienced during or after treatment:
- Mucositis, a severe form of inflammation of the mouth.
- Increase risk of infection in the mouth. If the drug suppresses white cells, which normally protect against infection, deep cleanings and other invasive procedures such as tooth extraction can result in infection.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Changing taste – some things may taste bitter, sour, or have no taste at all.
- Severe dry mouth
- Oral yeast infection from the fungus candida.
- Dental pain in the teeth and gums
Spreading Hope & Awareness
Breast cancer is common – too common. Most of us know someone who has gone through it, whether our mother, sister, grandmother, daughter, or friend. While the disease and the treatment wreak havoc on the body, we know there is hope! For those who suffer from the dental ailments above, there are ways to help the symptoms. Be sure to schedule your regular dental check-ups and keep a good daily dental hygiene routine.
In order to prevent breast cancer, regular mammograms and home checks are vital when it comes to early detection of breast cancer. Whether you have dealt with breast cancer personally or know someone who has, it can be devasting. Our team wishes all our girls out there the very best in recovery and health!