Some chemotherapeutics can cause inflammation of the mucosae of the mouth, with the formation of aphthae, ulcers, bacterial and fungal infections. To resolve these inflammations the doctor will prescribe you appropriate medications. Yet, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and to take some precautions in the choice of foods. As for oral hygiene, it is recommended to use soft bristle brushes and to rinse your mouth with water and baking soda (avoid the use of alcoholic mouthwashes).
Another option is to rinse your mouth with sunflower oil: this practice consists in taking a tablespoon of sunflower oil and making rinses, as usual. The oil must be passed between one tooth and another and between the tongue and teeth. If the cleansing is performed correctly, the sunflower oil will eventually turn whiteish. At that point you can expel the oil, and if necessary rinse your mouth one last time with water to expel toxins and microbes.
As regards food, here are some useful tips:
- Prefer soft, very moist and low-salted foods, since they are easier to chew or swallow in order to cause less irritation. Prefer foods like smoothies, purées, homogenized foods, puddings, yogurt, ice creams. As an example, you could make (peeled) fruit smoothies and mix them with yogurt or vegetable drinks; or you can cook the vegetables and make creams. If severe mucositis arises, it is recommended to consume whole grains in the form of a cream (see brown rice cream).
- Drink a lot of water throughout the day with the aid of a drinking-straw in more difficult situations, if necessary
- Be careful about the temperature of foods: avoid hot foods since they can irritate the mouth or throat; it is better to eat cold, room-temperature or warm foods
- Use a spoon when eating, so as to ingest smaller bites of food
- Avoid very sour, acidic or salty foods and drinks because they cause irritation (citrus fruits, fruits with small seeds, tomatoes, pickled foods)
- Avoid spices and irritating seasonings (pepper, chili, horseradish, curry, mustard, etc.)
- Avoid dry foods (crackers, chips, bread) since they can scratch your mouth
- Avoid drinking alcohol