October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While you may see many people sporting pink bracelets, clothes, or even hairstyles, we have chosen to raise awareness by writing about the connection between oral health and breast cancer.
More than 200,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. With a breast cancer diagnosis comes a myriad of health challenges, including issues with oral health. Many breast cancer patients are at risk for dental caries, pain, and xerostomia. These conditions can seriously affect oral health.
Xerostomia is a form of dry mouth that can cause serious decay to teeth. We all need saliva in our mouth because it helps to wash away bacteria that will become acid and erode enamel. Suffering from dry mouth allows the bacteria, acid, and plaque on teeth to cause decay much more quickly and severely. This makes it much easier for cavities to form.
Chemotherapy is the main cause for most oral health issues during cancer treatment. The drugs used during chemotherapy can affect oral health negatively and those undergoing treatment typically require additional care from their dental team.
Ask your dentist about the best practices for your teeth during treatment. They will know the best ways to prevent decay and further damage in your mouth.