National Cancer Institute
Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects
Mouth and Throat Changes
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have:
l l l
Changes in taste or smell Dry mouth Pain when you eat hot or cold foods
Take these steps to feel better.
Clean your mouth with care.
Brush your teeth and tongue after each meal and before you go to bed. Use a very soft toothbrush. Use toothpaste or gel that has fluoride and baking soda in it. Rinse your mouth with the baking soda, salt, and water mix in the box below.
“My mouth felt sore. I let my nurse know right away. He told me about medicine that can help. He also showed me how to make a mouth rinse to use each day.”
Every 3 hours during the day, mix together: l 1 cup warm water, l 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and l 1/8 teaspoon salt. Take small sips and swish them around in your mouth.
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
Trouble eating or swallowing White spots in your mouth Sores on your lips or in your mouth
u.s. Department of health anD human services national institutes of health
Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects: Mouth and Throat Changes
Keep your mouth and lips moist.
l l l
Use a lip balm, such as ChapStick .
Ask about medicine for pain if your mouth or throat is sore.
Sip water or suck ice chips. Try drinking through a straw.
Questions to ask your doctor or nurse:
1. What problems should I call you about? 2. What foods and drinks should I have? 3. Can we make the baking soda, salt, and water mix together? 4. If brushing hurts, what are other ways that I can clean my mouth? 5. What medicines can help?
Eat soft, bland foods.
Choose foods that are soft, wet, and easy to swallow. When your mouth is sore, try cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs. Soften food with gravy, sauce, or other liquids. Let food cool down if hot food hurts your mouth.
Visit a dentist at least 2 weeks before you start treatment. Get a copy of the report from your dentist and give it to your doctor or nurse. FrEE SErViCES To LEArn MorE
national Cancer institute Cancer information Service Phone: TTY: online: Chat online: www.cancer.gov/help 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) 1-800-332-8615 www.cancer.gov
Don’t have things that can make your mouth hurt.
Don’t drink orange, lemon, tomato, or
l l l
Don’t drink alcohol, such as beer or wine. Don’t eat crunchy or spicy foods. Don’t have foods or drinks that have sugar in
them, such as candy and soft drinks.
Don’t smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco
nih publication no. 09-6512 reprinted september 2009