Oral Health and Chemotherapy

Periodontist or oncologist?  For those dealing with cancer treatment, a relationship with your oncologist may be just as important as the one with your dentist.  Chemotherapy offers many positives in preventing the growth of cancers; however, this powerful treatment can cause a few issues along the way.  Oral health complications is one common discomfort many chemo patients face, but Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman want to shed some light on how to practice the best oral health habits to maintain hygiene and comfort during chemo treatment.

There are many different types of chemotherapy so it is important to talk with your doctor for more specific information, but we will discuss a few side effects.   One of the more common side effects is mucositis.  Mucositis is the ulceration of the mucosa lining in the digestive tract which includes the oral cavity.  When this occurs, the feeling for each patient varies as some can experience inflammation and redness while others succumb to more severe ulceration.   Mouth sores can occur on your tongue and mouth. Periodontal Associates give this advice in preventing and treating these sores:

  1. Drink plenty of water – at least 64 ounces – although more than 64 ounces is suggested especially when living in dry climates such as Denver, CO.
  2. Stay hydrated with drinks enhanced with electrolytes
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they dry out your tongue and gum tissue
  4. Eat soft foods – Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman will be happy to give you a list of good foods to eat as we suggest the same thing for our Aurora patients after gum graft and dental implant treatment.
  5. Avoid citric and spicy foods and/or juices
  6. For denture patients, use them for meals only allowing your gums to rest when not eating
  7. Brush with soft toothbrushes and floss gently to avoid gum irritation – Stop by Periodontal Associates and we will give you a brush for free.


Other side effects can be impaired taste buds, erosion of tooth enamel, and ulcerated gingival tissues.  Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman are gum specialists, and visiting them regularly is important.  Our doctors examine each patient at every visit monitoring the progression of gum disease, mouth sores, and oral cancers.  For discomfort, Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman will not hesitate to prescribe or educate you in oral hygiene procedures, pain control medications, or oral mouth rinses to alleviate any tenderness.   Your oncologist should stress the importance of visiting your dentist before starting chemotherapy to discuss and prepare for possible mouth concerns.

Periodontal Associates patients are treated more gently as many of our patients experience gum disease.  Our doctors and hygienists are specially trained to treat our Aurora patients more gingerly as many with periodontal disease or chemotherapy patients need special attention to overcome sensitive gums.  If you have any concerns about bleeding gums, mouth sores, tenderness, recession, or any discomforts in your mouth, do not hesitate to call Periodontal Associates and schedule an appointment with Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, or Dr. Eric Beckman.  We strive to offer each patient individual treatment plans that revolve around your personal health needs to offer not only protection and optimal health but also comfort and aesthetics.

Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at (303) 755-45000, or browse our website at www.periodontalhealth.com for more information.  Don’t be in the dark when it comes to your oral health especially when dealing with other diseases and medication uses.  Let Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman be a role in your team of specialists to provide you relief and health.