Oral Complications

Oral complications of cancer therapy are the result of:

  • The surgical removal of anatomical structures of the head and neck
  • The effect of chemotherapy agents on bone marrow (myelosuppression) and the direct toxic effects on the cells lining the mouth and throat
  • The tissue changes associated with total body radiation or therapeutic radiation to the head and neck
  • Your body’s response to allogeneic (donor) bone marrow transplant (BMT) and the associated immunosuppressive drug therapy that is given
  • The side effects of the drugs used as adjuvant therapy during cancer treatment

Oral complications of cancer therapy include:

  • Inflammation and/or ulceration of the mucous membranes (mucositis)
  • Infection
  • Loss of minerals from the teeth (dental demineralization) that increases tooth sensitivity
  • Cavities (caused by the reduction in quality and quantity of saliva)
  • Tooth loss
  • Changes in or loss of your sense of taste (hypogeusia/dysgeusia)
  • Poor nutritional status (malnutrition from loss of the ability or desire to eat the basic requirements to maintain nutritional health)
  • Decrease in your ability to chew, speak or swallow (functional disabilities)
  • Abnormal dental development (for children)
  • Dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • Accumulation of mucous (caused by the shut down of your salivary glands)