Is Dry Mouth a Result of Cancer Treatments?

Is Dry Mouth a Result of Cancer Treatments?

Chemotherapy, radiation, and medication used for cancer treatments can have the uncomfortable side effect of dry mouth. Dry mouth is medically known as xerostomia.  

Dry mouth is especially common among patients receiving radiation treatment for various cancers around their upper body, head, and neck areas. However, you may experience dry mouth if you are receiving cancer treatments for other areas as well. Some may be colon, pancreatic, or other cancers.  

Xerostomia may lead to oral health complications, including difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing, and decrease your overall quality of life.  

What is Xerostomia?

Dry mouth is a medical condition also known as Xerostomia. It causes a decrease in adequate saliva production, which creates an uncomfortable, dry sensation. Dry mouth can make eating, talking and swallowing difficult. A lack of saliva can lead to other symptoms such as mouth sores, bad breath, dry throat, and overall poor dental health. 

Dry Mouth During Cancer Treatments

Dry mouth can be an unwanted side effect of cancer treatments. Cancer treatments are specified to attack fast metastasizing cancer cells. However, this may also affect healthy cells that are fast metastasizing as well, such as salivary glands and their saliva production 

Cancer therapy may alter the production of saliva, create dysregulation and dysfunction of the salivary glands. This decreases the amount of saliva in the oral cavity creating uncomfortable dry mouth symptoms.

Doctor with patient

Radiation Therapy:

Radiation therapy treatments can cause damage to the salivary glands. Salivary glands produce saliva and keep your mouth moist. Radiation, especially to the head, face, or neck, can damage salivary glands, resulting in dry mouth. It is estimated that over 90% of head and neck cancer patients experiencing chemotherapy or radiation treatments will develop dry mouth as a side effect.

After completing radiation therapy, it could take 6 months or longer for the salivary gland to begin producing saliva again. In severe cases, dry mouth from radiation therapy treatments can be a lifelong problem

Chemotherapy & Other Medications:

Chemotherapy, pain medications, anti-depressants, antiemetics, and diuretics are all often used to help treat, or ease the pain and side effects caused by cancer. However, all of these may create dry mouth symptoms as well

Medications are the #1 cause of dry mouth. However, dry mouth symptoms will usually subside after treatment with these medications and drugs ends.  

Other Conditions:

Cancer and cancer treatments can leave one more susceptible to other conditions including: 

Dehydration:

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments have common side effects of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive urination. These side effects can all lead to dehydration due to a lack of fluid in the body. It is important to increase your fluid intake when going through cancer treatments. 

Oral Candidiasis:

Oral candidiasis, also known as oral thrush, is a common side effect of cancer treatments. Cancer treatments damage the body’s mucous membranes and weaken the immune system, making one susceptible to oral thrush. This risk increases for those experiencing radiation to the head, face or neck.   

Graft-Versus-Host Disease:

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a possible side effect of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. This occurs when a donor’s stem cells attack the body and cause inflammation. Chronic GVHD may cause side effects including dry mouth, dry eyes, scleroderma, joint and muscle pain, weight loss, infection, and difficulty breathing.

Signs & Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can present itself in many ways. Some common symptoms of dry mouth include: 

  • Feeling of dryness and stickiness in your mouth 
  • Thick, stringy saliva 
  • Bad breath (Halitosis) 
  • Difficulty chewing, talking, or swallowing, and (in extreme cases) breathing 
  • Dry or grooved fissured tongue 
  • Altered taste
  • Problems wearing dentures 
  • Cracked lips and split skin near the corners of the mouth 
  • Dry or sore throat

Negative Effects of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth symptoms can significantly impact your quality of life when ignored. If you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms due to cancer treatments, it is important to take proper action to manage them.

If left untreated, dry mouth symptoms can lead to:

  • Increased plaque 
  • Tooth decay 
  • Gum disease 
  • Mouth sores 
  • Yeast infection in your mouth (thrush) 
  • Sores 
  • Split skin at the corners of your mouth
  • Cracked lips 
  • Poor nutrition due to problems with chewing and swallowing 
  • Glossitis 

Moreover, dry mouth symptoms may increase oral inflammation as well as the risk for oral infections. Always speak with a healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have. 

Negative Effects of Dry Mouth

Moreover, dry mouth symptoms may increase oral inflammation as well as the risk for oral infections. Always speak with a healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have. 

Managing Dry Mouth Symptoms

If you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms as a side effect of cancer treatment, it is crucial that you speak with your doctor. It’s important to find a solution that works best for you. 

One of the best ways to add moisture to your mouth is using a saliva substitute. Saliva substitutes can work to provide comfort and relief from dry mouth symptoms.  

Lubricity is a flavorless, odorless, saliva substitute that alleviates the symptoms of dry mouth. Our formula contains hyaluronic acid, which helps naturally keep your mouth moist, creating a soothed, hydrated feeling. Lubricity also contains xylitol, which aids in the prevention of bacterial growth in the mouth and reduces the risk for oral infection. Our formula is safe, and our ingredients are Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA.

Additional Tips

In addition to a dry mouth spray or saliva substitute, it is important that those experiencing dry mouth from cancer treatments: 

  • Maintain good dental health 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Avoid dental products that contain alcohol, as these can further dry the mouth 
  • Maintain good nutrition 
  • Be in contact with your healthcare professionals about any changes with your health or symptoms 

All in all, being aware of your dry mouth symptoms, especially during cancer treatments, is essential.  

What is Lubricity?

Lubricity is an odorless, flavorless, and colorless spray that is perfect for people who are overly sensitive to taste. Our Dry Mouth Spray also has Zero Calories, NO Gluten, NO Alcohol, NO Sugar, and is Vegan-Friendly! 

Lubricity Dry Mouth Spray has 5 simple ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Xylitol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate and Purified Water. This simple formula is clinically proven to alleviate your dry mouth symptoms for up to 4 hours.

How to use Lubricity?

Our product comes in a convenient 0.5oz and 2oz spray bottle. Simply point and spray 3-5 times per use. When used as directed, Lubricity provides up to 4 hours of relief from dry mouth symptoms.

For best results, we recommend using Lubricity Dry Mouth Spray as follows: 

4 for 4 lubricity

Use Lubricity after a meal and before bed. If needed, Lubricity can be used more than 4 times per day. *Some may need 3-5 pumps per use, as the bottle needs to be primed upon opening. Relief from symptoms begins immediately. Maximum effectiveness is achieved after 72 hours of continued use.

Important: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your physician before using Lubricity. DO not use Lubricity if you are taking any medications that are contraindicated with the product. Please consult with your physician if you have any concerns regarding the use of this product. Keep out of reach of children.

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