Now, here is something that we don't often think about until there is a problem: dental health. During cancer, however, it is worth a little thought and planning. For most women with breast cancer, this means that it is smart to have a complete dental exam and cleaning before beginning treatment. It also means that if there is a dental issue during treatment, the timinig of any dental intervention must be carefully coordinated with blood counts. At the least, it is important to tell your dentist about this change in your health.
Here is more information from ASCO's Cancer Net.
Dental and Oral Health During Cancer Treatment
Dental health is a topic that may be overlooked in preparation for and during cancer treatment. Dental and oral health refers to the well-being of the entire mouth, including the teeth, gums, mucosa (lining of the mouth), and salivary glands (the glands that produce saliva). About one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer each year may develop side effects affecting the mouth due to cancer treatment, although the incidence varies depending on the type of treatment. The side effects may make it difficult to eat, talk, chew, and/or swallow.
Fortunately, most dental and oral side effects can be prevented or managed with the help of your health care team, which includes your oncologist, nurses, and dentist. Sometimes, a dental specialist, such as an oral surgeon (a dentist who specializes in surgery of the mouth and jaw), periodontist (a dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating gum disease), or prosthodontist (a dentist who specializes in replacing teeth or other structures of the mouth) will be needed to treat specific side effects.
Regular communication among all members of your cancer care team before and during treatment is important in preventing and managing dental side effects. Before starting any treatment, ask your doctor about the possible side effects and whether these will affect any parts of your mouth. If a treatment, such as radiation therapy to the head and neck areas or high-dose chemotherapy, is likely to cause oral side effects, be sure to have a dental examination before starting cancer treatment. If you have already started treatment that is affecting or is likely to affect your oral health, see a dentist as soon as possible.