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Maintaining Dental Health during Illness

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Serious bodily illnesses are not something anyone ever wants to think about or deal with but they are sometimes a reality that we have to face. Whether an individual or a loved one is touched by an illness, the effects go beyond just that person or their immediate family.

Being able to take care of some regular daily activities can become more difficult when facing an illness and they become that much more important to do as well due to the fact that the body is in a more vulnerable state. Dental health especially is something that is important to maintain and during an illness such as cancer. Here are some important things to consider:

“• Medication: There are specific medications that can ease discomfort and prevent sores — these can be prescribed by a doctor. Pain medicine, such as Tylenol or stronger, may also be used. Always avoid using aspirin or non-steroidal medication (Advil, Motrin) during chemotherapy, as they can cause bleeding. For dry mouth, saliva substitutions can be helpful.
• Work with your dental professional: Your dental professional and oncologist can work together to make you as comfortable as possible. Continuing with regularly scheduled dental hygiene appointments so your hygienist can monitor your oral comfort and make changes as required is also important.
• Oral health routine: Unless otherwise recommended, continue to gently brush teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste, and gently floss once a day. If gums are sore or bleeding, avoid those areas but continue to floss the remainder of your teeth.
• Stay hydrated: Drinking at least eight glasses of water or juices daily can be helpful with many dental side effects including dry mouth, or xerostomia. Using lip balm can help prevent your lips from cracking, and cool mist humidifier will add much-needed needed moisture to your home.”

If you or someone you know is facing a serious illness make sure there is strong communication with both the health care practitioner and the Aylmer dentist in order to facilitate optimal health.

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