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Simple Oral Hygiene Tips for Cancer Patients

Mouth care or dental care simply means the routine practice of maintaining teeth and mouth healthy and clean by brushing frequently, flossing, and using mouthwash. The mouth is very important in all our activities including eating, drinking, speech, movement, taste and even the immune system. If there is a problem with the mouth, it can be a major medical condition that will affect your body in many ways. A healthy and proper mouth can easily prevent such problems that lead to other diseases.

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You may find it difficult to brush and floss your teeth at the beginning but it is very important to do it properly as the dentist would tell you. If you don't remove dentures properly then it can cause pain, infection, swollen gums and teeth damage. Dentures that are not removed properly can also cause teeth irritation and pain. There are many techniques and methods to clean the mouth properly and remove dentures that are not properly cleaned. Some of these methods may include:

- Oral irrigation. This is an irrigation procedure done with normal saline solution. It is a simple process and is done twice a day, least four times daily. It is an easy procedure and the treatment is temporary and doesn't require any medicines. Irrigation is usually recommended as a first step towards mouth care or dental implants, which help to reduce oral pain.

- Esophageal contracture. This is a manual technique of tightening of the muscle of the esophagus. When it occurs in the upper esophagus, it results in a painful swallowing problem. It is mainly caused by the terminal illness of patients suffering from Crohn's disease, diabetes, and other intestinal disorders. Patients having such problems should undergo esophageal contracture and should be given oral care, preferably in conjunction with other remedies for mouth problems.

- Puncture. This method of treating patients with oral problem is done by a dentist. A small incision is made in the tissue below the gum line. The dentist uses sterile equipment to remove the portion of the tooth or teeth affected by the inflammation or disease and the diseased tissue is pulled out after removing the tooth or teeth. The remaining teeth or tissues are then reshaped by the dentist using local anesthesia.

- Lip balm. It is another simple and non-invasive method of mouth care. When one has a habit of smoking, sores on the lips may occur and this causes the accumulation of bacteria and debris which may lead to mouth infections and other serious conditions. A good quality lip balm with anti-bacterial and antifungal ingredients can keep mouth bacteria and debris at bay and also keep the lips clean and clear.

- Lubricants. Some people have a habit of smoking or chewing tobacco products, while others do not. Either way, certain areas of the mouth may need extra lubrication such as the area near the teeth where food tends to stick. There are different types of mouth care products available in the market which are designed to provide adequate oral care for patients who cannot brush or floss. In fact, even those whose teeth are perfectly healthy may need to use over-the-counter lubricants from time to keep mouth tissues and gums soft and smooth.

Patients with dry mouth may also benefit from the use of mouth care products such as ice chips. Ice chips are specially designed to treat dry mouth problems and can help patients reduce pain and inflammation caused due to dry mouth. Ice chips are best used during the first few hours when a patient begins to feel discomfort. The discomfort associated with inflammation and pain is temporary and will subside within a few hours. Patients suffering from radiotherapy to treat their cancers often feel uncomfortable due to loss of taste or smell as well.