Head, Neck Cancer Awareness Week – Enhanced Benefit
Cancer can be a difficult diagnosis to accept. Not only is your life in danger, but many medications used to treat this type of disease can also have negative effects on your body, your mouth included. It is essential to be aware of the potential side effects and the important role your dentist will play as a member of your medical team.
Any person facing head and neck radiation treatment may suffer some painful side effects and potentially long term problems with their teeth and gums including soreness in your mouth, stiffness in your jaw, or loss of taste. In addition, radiation may damage the soft gum tissue, the lining of your mouth, the bones of your jaw, or the saliva glands.
Having great dental insurance offers an added benefit: a third cleaning each year. Certain Delta Dental of Iowa plans offer a third annual dental cleaning for people suffering from various types of cancers and other health conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure.
If you qualify, be sure to check to sign up for this benefit at www.deltadentalia.com.
Having a third checkup can keep your smile in great shape and bring peace of mind that your mouth is as healthy as possible.
Tips if you or a loved one is facing radiation treatment:
• Your dentist is an important partner in your cancer treatment
• Ideally, see your dentist a month before starting radiation treatment for a checkup
• Brush and floss gently
• Check out the saliva substitutes and mouth moisturizing products like sprays and rinses
• Chew sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol
• Drink water to keep your mouth moist and hydrated
• Check with your insurance carrier and see if your dental plan has a third cleaning benefit, too.
For more information, visit www.nidcr.nih.gov for oral health information specific to cancer.