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Mouth Changes (after Radiation Therapy)

What they are

Radiation therapy to your head and neck can cause late side effects in your mouth. Problems may include dry mouth, cavities, or bone loss in the jaw.


 Ways to manage
  • Visit your dentist. You may be asked to have your teeth checked every 1 to 2 months for at least 6 months after radiation treatment ends. During this time, your dentist will look for changes in your mouth, teeth, and jaw.

  • Exercise your jaw. Open and close your mouth 20 times as far as you can without causing pain. Do this exercise 3 times a day, even if your jaw isn't stiff.

  • Take good care of your teeth and gums. This means flossing, using daily fluoride treatments, and brushing your teeth after meals and before you go to bed.

  •  Have your dentist contact your radiation oncologist before you have dental or gum surgery. This includes not having teeth pulled from the part of your mouth that received radiation. There may be other options than surgery.



Exercise your jaw 3 times a day.