Oral Alterations in Oncology Patients

Did you know that 40% of patients treated with chemotherapy develop some oral pathology? Mucositis, oral infections, dry mouth, pain and bleeding are some of the diseases that patients undergoing cancer treatment can suffer from.

Some of these pathologies are:

Oral mucositis

o Appears 4-7 days after administration of cytostatics in the form of erythematous (red) lesions that evolve into ulcers or aphthae lasting 14-21 days. It is painful and may prevent the ingestion of food.

o For prevention, 30 minutes of oral cryotherapy with ice chips is recommended while receiving treatment.

o Acyclovir should not be used preventively and chlorhexidine should not be used to treat established oral mucositis.

o While it is present, some habits need to be modified:

o Avoid products containing alcohol, glycerine, lemon and hydrogen peroxide.

o A soft diet is recommended, increasing cold, nutritious fluids.

o Avoid alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

Dry mouth (xerostomia)

By altering the salivary glands, chemotherapy thickens saliva and causes dry mouth (xerostomia). It usually lasts throughout the treatment and disappears two to eight weeks after the end of treatment.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Dry, sticky mouth feeling
  • Chapping of the lips and corners of the lips
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Thick, viscous saliva
  • Dry and rough tongue
  • Pain and/or burning in mouth and tongue
  • Difficulty in chewing, tasting or swallowing

These discomforts can be alleviated by following these guidelines:

  • Avoid foods and liquids high in sugar.
  • Drink water frequently, if possible, with a few slices of lemon and ice.
  • Chewing sugarless gum as Xeros Dentaid® (CN 160860.4)
  • Sucking sugar-free candy and/or ice cubes.
  • Use 5-6 times a day Xeros Dentaid spray© (CN 150039.7)


Candidiasis is a fungal infection (mycosis) of any of the following species Candidathe most frequent being the Candida albicans. It is produced due to the low state of defences produced by the oncological treatment, which this species takes advantage of to "colonise" the mouth.

That is why it is vitally important to visit your dentist before undergoing cancer treatment and to have regular check-ups, as well as having your teeth cleaned before starting chemotherapy treatment, for example, can prevent many of these pathologies, as we explain in the following video.