Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be quite taxing on the human body. The body undergoes multiple changes and side-effects of medication because of the strong antibiotics. Xerostomia is a side effect of cancer treatment. In simple terms, it refers to a dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition when the salivary glands fail to create sufficient saliva that lubricates the mouth. It can be a direct result of irritated or damaged salivary glands. Dry mouth may lead to several other problems such as voice hoarseness, oral infection, and much more. Continue reading ahead to know ways in which you can make changes in your diet to combat a dry mouth.
Are cancer patients likely to suffer from dry mouth?
Dry mouth is a very common side-effect that cancer patients suffer, so there is no reason to panic. It is particularly noticed more in those who are undergoing target radiotherapy treatment around the head or neck. Sometimes, chemotherapy also thickens the saliva and leads to a dry mouth. If the salivary glands are damaged during treatment, it can be a permanent problem also. Thus, the following tips are constructive.
Ways to cope with dry mouth:
- Make your food high on sauces, gravies, and multiple dressings
Food texture plays a significant role in determining how easy it is to chew and swallow it. Thus, it is crucial to make it smooth and delectable. Soft and moist foods are not only more comfortable to eat but also more appealing. It will help if you use sauces, gravies, and different food dressing items. It is the perfect opportunity to experiment with different cuisines and make something new. The aim is to avoid dry foods.
- How about some fruit juice ice pops?
The first step to making fruit juice ice pops is to choose the right type of fruit. Fresh juice can help the human body with abundant vitamins and nutrients. Thus, freezing the fruit juice and then sucking on it like ice-cream can be gravely relieving for someone with a dry mouth. To add variety, you can pick different fruits for different days.
- Citric acid can stimulate saliva production
As the name makes it evident, citrus fruits are high on citric acid. Some common citric acid fruits are lemons, lime, oranges, and berries. Thus, it would help if you consumed them. Since oranges have high water content, eating them allows the body to maintain healthy body weight and also provides fiber. With a low-calorie count, oranges are one of the best fruits for everyone. It also helps in fighting the risk of diabetes, strokes, and heart problems.
- You must avoid extra hot foods and beverages
Extra hot foods and beverages can lead to a dry mouth. Thus, it would help if you avoid these altogether. It refers to not only food that is extra heated but also dishes that are high on spice. The spices can irritate the salivary glands further and have adverse effects on the production of saliva in the mouth. Always eat food that is slightly cooler and not spicy.
- Stay hydrated
It is imperative to drink water and nutritious liquids to keep yourself hydrated. If you are suffering from a dry mouth as a side effect of chemotherapy, then incorporating liquids in your meals is a must to prevent the salivary glands from getting further dry during meals. You can choose dal-khichdi over just khichdi.
- Stay away from alcohol
Alcohol is a significant reason for accelerating cancer. It is recognized as a leading cause for several types of cancer. Thus, it would be best if you abstain from it. When Alcohol is broken down in the gut, it has a direct impact on the blood stem cells. Consequently, affected cells result in unregulated growth and multiplication.
- Is your oral health care up to the mark?
You must also follow a healthy oral care routine. It is essential to brush every day and floss regularly to maintain a clean mouth. Since the body is in direct contact with multiple chemical treatment procedures and medicines, the mouth needs extra love and care. But if you think that this is where oral health ends, you are mistaken. An oncology rehabilitation provider can also teach about ways to swallow the food, how to drink without choking, and how to create more saliva in the mouth. In a nutshell, You can take several steps towards fighting a dry mouth.
Can Acupuncture help in treating dry mouth?
Not many people are comfortable with acupuncture because it uses needles, although it is mostly painless. An acupuncturist can help you by identifying the pressure points around your mouth and neck. They may also recommend certain prescribed medications.
There are many ways to treat dry mouth. Though the problems seem harmless, a patient may sometimes experience remarkable pain and discomfort. The standard corrective measures also include drinking water regularly and having sugar-free healthy candies. The aim is to keep the mouth lubricated at all times.