Are Mouthwashes Good for Oral Mucositis from Chemotherapy?
Tackling the challenges posed by oral mucositis makes dealing with cancer even more difficult. Despite the treatments available to mitigate the painful and uncomfortable side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, not much exists in the way of prevention of oral mucositis, though there is some hope for patients who struggle with the sores, ulcers, inflammation, and pain that accompany this dismal condition.
If you or a loved one suffers from oral mucositis, you have likely heard that mouthwashes can provide a temporary solution to a harrowing problem. Keep reading as experts from the Chemo Mouthpiece™ discuss the effectiveness of mouthwashes for treating oral mucositis.
What is Oral Mucositis?
As the drugs used to kill cancerous cells make their way through a patient’s system, they kill off healthy tissue as well as diseased tissue. A general term covering several symptoms, oral mucositis is a result of the interaction of these toxic chemotherapy drugs with the healthy mucosal membranes in a person’s mouth.
The symptoms associated with oral mucositis are extremely unpleasant – so much so that many patients report oral mucositis as the worst part of their battle with cancer. The condition typically manifests as sores or ulcers along the inside of the mouth; these can cause serious pain, as well as bleeding, inflammation, and even infections. Taken together, these symptoms can make it nearly impossible for patients to eat or drink anything, let alone keep up with their daily dietary needs. The result can be a delay in a person’s chemotherapy treatment, additional time spent in the hospital, and further procedures and medications simply to treat the pain of the mucositis (Source).
Studies, like the one cited above, have shown that oral mucositis is quite costly for patients, accounting for tens of thousands of dollars in additional expenses for some and drawing out their fight with an already deadly disease. For these patients, finding a way to limit or prevent the symptoms of mucositis is a serious issue that must be addressed. A good oral care routine during chemotherapy can be a good place to start.
Can You Treat Symptoms of Oral Mucositis with Mouthwash?
Treatments for oral mucositis are available over the counter and by prescription to those suffering from this ailment. These products generally take the form of mouthwashes and rinses used before, during, and after chemotherapy drugs are administered to treat oral mucositis. They can be expensive, though some do-it-yourself varieties can be made at home using common substances such as salt or baking powder.
There are several mechanisms through which mouthwashes attempt to treat the sores and inflammation related to mucositis. Some of these mouthwashes are used to mimic the functions of saliva since dry mouth (xerostomia), a common symptom of oral mucositis; others look to prevent infections or to reduce pain by incorporating an analgesic. For the most part, however, these products suffer from a shared shortfall that limits their effectiveness: they are only truly of use after a patient has already developed oral mucositis.
Using Cryotherapy to Treat Oral Mucositis Caused by Chemotherapy
As preventative measures go, cryotherapy shows a lot of promise for patients undergoing high-dose chemo regimens known to cause oral mucositis. While it may seem somewhat odd to treat a debilitating condition with cold temperatures, numerous studies – backed by anecdotal evidence from patients – have shown that cryotherapy is maybe the most effective way to prevent the worst symptoms of oral mucositis from appearing.
In many cancer centers, cryotherapy is employed by nurses who hand out ice chips and popsicles to patients in an effort to cool their mouths down while the chemo drugs are administered. The principle behind this treatment is simple: freezing temperatures cause the blood vessels in the mouth to contract, limiting blood flow to the area. Because the chemo drugs access the mouth through those same blood vessels, shrinking them means that less of the toxic chemicals are reaching the healthy tissues of the oral cavity.
Unfortunately, ice chips and popsicles are imperfect delivery mechanisms. Not only are they intolerable for some patients, but ice chips tend to simply sit on the bottom of the mouth, cooling that area more effectively but not as well in other parts of the oral cavity; similarly, popsicles only cool the parts of the cheek or tongue that they touch. This limits the effectiveness of both and inevitably leaves parts of the mouth vulnerable to the ravages of mucositis. To solve this issue, a cancer survivor and engineer named David Yoskowitz invented the Chemo Mouthpiece™.
Unlike ice chips or other forms of cryotherapy, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ cools the entire oral cavity uniformly, ensuring that no areas are left out of the treatment. This provides patients with extensive protection in combatting oral mucositis; cooling all the blood vessels of the mouth at the same time, and for the entire duration of your chemo treatment, can significantly limit the ability of the mucotoxic drugs to reach your mucus membranes. Try the Chemo Mouthpiece™ today and experience oral mucositis relief like never before.
Oral Mucositis Treatment and Prevention Available with the Chemo Mouthpiece™
Living with cancer can often feel like fighting a war on two fronts: not only must patients contend with a potentially deadly illness, but the treatments for that illness can be almost as devastating. The Chemo Mouthpiece™ is here to help make that second battle a lot easier. By preventing the worst symptoms of oral mucositis, patients can experience a much better quality of life at a critical point in their struggle with cancer. To learn more, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.