Regional Cancer Center ~ Erie, PA

Mouth Care

Mouth Care

Certain medications may cause your mouth to become sore or create open sores. Some medications can affect cells that are actively growing and dividing; often targeting the healthy cells. The lining of the mouth, called the mucous membrane, can become inflamed and irritated since these cells are usually in a growth and division stage. Cleaning and protecting the mouth will help avoid infection and maintain nutrition.


  • Brush your teeth within 30 minutes after eating and before bed.
  • Use a soft bristle tooth brush and tooth paste with fluoride; dipping the brush in warm water first will help soften the bristles.
  • Gently brush all tooth surfaces, and gently brush the gums, tongue and roof of mouth.

Denture Care

  • Remove dentures and brush them within 30 minutes after eating and before bed.
  • Use a denture-cleaning soak and rinse well.
  • Do not wear dentures that do not fit well and do not wear if sores on the gums are present.
  • Remove at bedtime.

Mouth Care

  • Mouthwash can be used, but must be alcohol free.
  • Rinse the mouth after brushing with a solution of one-half teaspoon of salt or one teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of water, using the cheeks to swish around the mouth for one to two minutes.
  • The baking soda/salt water rinse may be used frequently throughout the day if sores are present.
  • Apply lip balm or petroleum jelly to lips frequently; avoid products containing glycerin.
  • Maintain routine dental visits for check-up and cleaning.
  • Report any tooth pain, especially before starting treatment.
  • Combat dry mouth and taste changes by using gum, mints, sour candies, eating from plastic utensils and drinking lots of fluids.

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