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“Oral Mucositis” may also be referred to as mouth sores, dry mouth, or mouth tenderness. Oral mucositis can range from very mild to severe, and can interfere with your ability to drink enough liquids to maintain hydration or maintain nutrition.

Symptoms may include dry mouth, mouth tenderness with or without sores , a tingling or burning sensation, mouth sores may go down the throat. Some people may develop a white coating or spots on the tongue.

Things you can do to minimize discomfort from oral mucositis: 

  • Maintain an oral care routine with non-alcohol containing toothpaste and mouth rinses
  • Use soft toothbrush and floss gently
  • If you wear dentures, use them only for meals to let gums rest and decrease irritation
  • Drink 8-10 glasses (eight ounces) of fluids daily (water, juices, broths) 
  • Eat soft foods: gelatin, mashed potatoes, bananas, popsicles, milkshakes, smoothies, pudding, yogurt,  ice cream, applesauce (non-spiced)
  • Use lip balm for dry lips

AVOID the following when you have oral mucositis:

  • Alcohol-containing toothpaste and mouth rinses
  • Avoid drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages 
  • Avoid foods and drinks that can irritate your mouth (citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, spicy or salty foods, raw ginger and onions) until your mouth feels better
  • Avoid all forms of tobacco and nicotine as these irritate tissue and can delay healing
  • Avoid foods and liquids that contain lots of sugar

When to call your oncologist or oncology nurse:     

  • When you first notice changes in your mouth
  • Mouth sores that last more than 3-4 days or won’t heal. 
  • If the tenderness or sores are preventing you from drinking liquids and or eating solid foods
  • Discuss with your doctor or nurse about what products can be used to treat oral mucositis