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Oral Cancer and Its Effects on Your Mouth

Hi, this is Dr. Antolak at in Shelby Township, Michigan. What I’d like to discuss today is oral cancer and cancer in general, and its effect it has on the mouth.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it’s obviously a horrible time usually for families dealing with this potential life ending illness. When that takes place, a lot of things have to be done and the oncologist that you go to, hopefully will be really privy and aware that during any radiation therapy that’s done or even chemotherapy, these are intended to kill off cells in the body, fast growing cells.  Cancer cells are obviously fast growing cells.

Fast growing cells are also hair cells or hair follicles, and saliva glands that are in your mouth. When chemotherapy and radiation therapy takes place, that’s why people go without hair but also their mouth dries out.

So what are the implications of having this take place for the patient? I believe what’s very important is that when someone is diagnosed with cancer that they really get a thorough dental examination. Hopefully your oncologist will recommend a dentist to you and what’s important is getting this done in a very quick fashion. The reason why that is, is because they want a get on to that therapy pretty soon.

Well, if the mouth is not taken care of, if there are bad teeth in the mouth that seem to be problematic, because the fact that when salivary glands are knocked out it causes so many problems. You have a significant potential for getting cavities. Is if a tooth is as bad as it is, that cavity will just get worse. The problem is you can’t just take a tooth out when someone is on chemotherapy. If you do, because the immune system is really suppressed, there is a risk of having many, many potential complications from that.

The best way of dealing with this is taking care of all these urgent needs right away while the body has the ability to heal itself before it gets struck with all this chemotherapy and these very, very difficult days that would lay ahead.

Dry mouth because of the lack of saliva is another issue that takes place. But also there are many other things that can take place. For example, I put this brochure together. Increased chance of cavity, loss of taste, pain in your mouth. Of course, infections are much more prevalent.

So if you have gum disease, there might be an election to have teeth removed just so that, that area’s sealed off, and there’s no infection to the jawbone. You get jaw stiffness from this, and you get changes in your bone.

Sometimes when medications are given, for example, bisphosphonates, which are medications used for certain types of cancer, bone cancer. Once that takes place, the metabolism in the bone is altered, and therefore, once again, it’s difficult to manage patients who need to have any other additional

Oral Cancer and Its Effects on Your Mouth

So if there’s questions about that you can feel free to call me but I really recommend talking to your oncologist or your nurses who treat you or your loved one who will be going in for this care to make sure that there’s no potential of having a problem. If you’re not really current with your dental care please get in to see us or get in to see your own dentist if you have one because that itself could be a really challenging time for you.

If you have questions about oral cancer and its effects on your mouth, my phone number is (586) 247-3500. The website is Our dental office is in Shelby Township, Michigan. Thank you, and God bless.