ADA doing their bit for World Cancer Day

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ADA doing their bit for World Cancer DayThe Australian Dental Association (ADA) stepped up to show their support on this year’s World Cancer Day (4 February). The ADA put together a free fact sheet to encourage and help care for the dental health of those struggling with cancer.

The World Cancer Day theme, ‘we can, I can’ is about easing the burden of cancer, where they hope everybody pitches in together to raise awareness and promote discussion.

The ADA is hoping to encourage discussion around the commonly unfamiliar consequences of cancer for dental health. Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, said: “We urge cancer patients and people living with cancer to be aware of the possible oral health side effects that could arise during and after treatment. There are a number of simple things that patients can do to make their experience of treatment that little bit easier.”

The ADA suggests that those receiving treatment for cancer should make time for a consultation with their dentist. While treatment for their cancer will be their top priority, a visit to their dentist can help ease the side effects caused by cancer treatments.

“Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can have side effects on the teeth and gums, such as soreness and ulcers in the mouth, gum infections, bleeding gums, dry mouth and altered taste,” said Dr Alldritt. “These oral complications may persist for months or years afterwards, depending on the type of cancer treatment provided. Your dentist will be able to offer advice or prescribe dental products to reduce the severity of these complications.”

The ADA has offered the following list as a starting point for those dealing with cancer to minimise dry mouth caused by their treatment:

  • Sip water frequently
  • Avoid sticky, sugary foods and drinks
  • Avoid acidic foods and beverages
  • Minimise caffeine intake, as this adds to dehydration
  • Avoid dry, coarse and hard foods or anything spicy
  • Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva flow, and
  • Use a dry mouth gel or spray, which helps to moisten the mouth.

 

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