What is oral mucositis?
You may have spoken to your doctor about oral mucositis or experienced some of its symptoms. Oral mucositis is a painful complication of xerostomia, or dry mouth, caused by a decreased flow of saliva after radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some of the major functions of saliva include:
- Helping with digestion, taste, chewing, swallowing, and talking
- Protecting teeth from decay
- Protecting the mouth, teeth, and throat from infection caused by bacteria, yeast, and viruses
What causes oral mucositis?
Oral mucositis is a common side effect of cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In fact, the majority of people using these treatments for head and neck cancer will develop the condition.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are designed to destroy the cancer cells in your body. However, they can sometimes affect healthy cells, too. When the healthy cells in your mouth are affected, it can lead to the uncomfortable or painful symptoms of oral mucositis. These symptoms will usually begin 7 to 10 days after beginning a cancer treatment.
What are the signs and symptoms of oral mucositis?
The effects of oral mucositis can be mild at first, but can progress very quickly—even within a few hours. Severe oral mucositis may make it difficult to eat, drink, or swallow.
You may have experienced symptoms related to oral mucositis, including:
- Pain in your mouth
- Swelling in your mouth or on your tongue
- Dry mouth
- Bleeding gums
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Difficulty eating and drinking
- Dry, cracked, or bleeding lips
- Thick saliva or no saliva
- Redness, white patches, or lesions on the inside of your mouth
- Fever or other signs of infection
What can I do to manage my symptoms?
Together, you and your doctor can manage oral mucositis. In addition to using a medicinal rinse, you can also:
- Practice good oral hygiene
- Avoid spicy, acidic, hard, and hot foods or beverages
- Avoid alcohol and sugary lozenges and beverages
- Use mild-flavored toothpastes
Why is it important to treat oral mucositis?
Treating your condition effectively can help prevent it from becoming more severe. Severe oral mucositis can cause serious pain or infections, having a major impact on your health and maybe even requiring hospitalization.
Treating oral mucositis adequately involves more than just temporarily soothing the symptoms. Real relief comes from restoring healthy oral conditions and lubricating and protecting the tissues inside your mouth.
*Terms and Conditions: This offer is only valid for patients with commercial insurance where NeutraSal Supersaturated Calcium Phosphate Rinse is a covered medication. This offer is not valid for any person eligible for reimbursement of prescriptions, in whole or in part, by any federal, state, or other governmental programs, including, but not limited to, Medicare (including Medicare Advantage and Part A, B, and D plans), Medicaid, TRICARE, Veterans Administration or Department of Defense health coverage, CHAMPUS, the Puerto Rico Government Health Insurance Plan, or any other federal or state health care programs. You agree not to seek reimbursement for all or any part of the benefit received through this offer and are responsible for making any required reports of your use of this offer to any insurer or other third party who pays any part of the prescription filled. This offer is good only in the United States of America (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). This offer is not valid where otherwise prohibited, taxed, or otherwise restricted and not valid for any person that is 65 years of age or older without commercial insurance. You must be 18 years of age or older to redeem this offer for yourself or a minor. This offer cannot be redeemed at government-subsidized clinics. This offer is valid for one (1) initial prescription fill of NeutraSal and up to ten (10) prescription refills. The maximum benefit available is $150 per box. You are responsible for all costs and expenses after the maximum benefit is reached. If you receive coverage through a health savings account (HSA) or similar arrangement, it is your responsibility to know how claims are processed and understand that amounts paid by the third party for your NeutraSal prescription may be deducted from your benefits limit automatically. This offer is not valid with other offers. The coupon has no cash value or cash back. This offer is not health insurance. This offer expires on December 31, 2016. Valeant Pharmaceuticals and OraPharma reserve the right to rescind, revoke, terminate, or amend this offer at any time, without notice.