Mucositis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes and is a result of neutropenia (low white blood cell count). Many chemotherapy drugs can inflame the lining of the mouth and throat and cause small, possibly painful sores in the mouth or on the lips.
If the lips are extremely dry externally, make a solution of baking soda and salt and dissolve in warm water; put into a small spray bottle and spray onto the lips. Emu based lip balm can be applied any time, and especially at bedtime. Biotene has a specially formulated mouthwash, toothpaste and mouth moisturizer available that is extremely helpful. Using a soft toothbrush while undergoing chemotherapy is recommended because your mouth and gums may be tender and irritated.
Check with your oncologist or nurse if you plan to have dental work done while undergoing chemotherapy, so that you will be advised to have these services done at a safe time.
Follow these suggestions to help with a sore mouth or throat:
- Try soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow such as:
- Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet
- Bananas, applesauce, and other soft fruits
- Cottage cheese
- Custards, puddings, and gelatin
- Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese
- Scrambled eggs
- Oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Cold liquids
- Pureed meats, pureed or mashed vegetables such as peas and carrots
- Cream Soup
- Cook foods until soft.
- Chop or blenderize foods. The consistency will change but not the flavor. Blenderize meat with mashed potatoes and gravy.
- Cut foods into small pieces.
- Try foods cold or at room temperature. Hot and warm foods may irritate a tender mouth or throat.
- Mix foods with butter, gravies, and sauces to make it easier to swallow.
- Moisten dry foods in liquids with crackers in soup or cookies in milk or coca.
- Use a straw when drinking liquids
- If swallowing is difficult, titling your head back or moving it forward may help.
- Avoid foods that can irritate the mouth or throat such as:
- Citrus fruits or juices such as oranges, grapefruit, and tomato
- Spicy foods made with ingredients such as chili peppers, peppers, cloves, and nutmeg
- Very salty foods
- Rough, coarse, or dry foods such as crackers, toast, granola, nuts, and raw vegetables
- You may be advised to stop smoking because smoking can aggravate the mouth and cause throat soreness.
- Rinse your mouth with water frequently to remove bacteria and promote healing.
- If pain is severe, ask your doctor about medication to numb the mouth and throat long enough for you to eat meals.