56TAB FOUR | TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF patient guide
Sore Mouth and Throat
Dryness, irritation and sores are common with cancer treatment. Some cancer treatments can cause sores in the mouth
and throat called stomatitis or mucositis. Because of this, it is extremely important to take good care of your mouth.
In addition to being painful, mouth sores can become infected by the many germs that live in the mouth. Every step
should be taken to prevent infections, because they can be hard to ﬁght during chemotherapy and can lead to serious
Tips for keeping your mouth and throat clean and healthy:
• Look in your mouth every day. Look at your teeth, tongue, gums and cheeks. Look
under your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Look for red, white or broken spots.
• Brush your teeth and gums after every meal and at bedtime. Use a soft toothbrush and
a gentle touch.
• Keep your mouth clean by rinsing with warm salt water. DO NOT use mouthwashes
with alcohol in them (Scope, Listerine, etc.).
• Keep lips moist by using Vaseline, A & D ointment, chap stick or any other lip balm.
Sometimes, even though you may follow all of the tips above, sores still develop. If you get sores in your mouth or throat,
or you become unable to eat due to pain, tell your doctor or nurse. There are medications and solutions that will help
your mouth and throat heal.
Tips for coping with mouth or throat sores:
• Continue to keep your mouth clean, using mouthwashes given to you by the doctor
or nurse. You can also use a salt/baking soda rinse. Add ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp baking
soda to 1 quart of warm water. Place in a clean jug/bottle and use the solution
throughout the day to rinse your mouth out. Make a new solution every day.
• Keep your mouth moist by sipping on water.
• Eat foods that are cool or at room temperature.
• Eat soft, bland foods such as ice cream, milkshakes, baby food, soft fruits, mashed
potatoes, cooked cereals, macaroni and cheese, Jell-o, custards, etc. You can also
put cooked foods in the blender to make them smooth and easier to eat.
• Avoid irritating, acidic foods and juices, such as tomato and citrus (orange, grapefruit
and lemon), spicy or salty foods, and rough or course foods such as raw vegetables,
granola, popcorn and toast.
• Avoid alcohol and tobacco products.
• Leave your dentures out if necessary, especially if they do not ﬁt well.