Cancer: "My Mouth and Throat are Sore"
The linings of the mouth and throat are among the most sensitive areas of the body and may be quite sensitive to some types of chemotherapy and to radiation treatments. When your mouth becomes swollen, red, and sore, it is called mucositis. Healing will occur more quickly if you are eating well, drinking enough fluids, and taking good care of your mouth.
- Make your foods softer and moister.
- Chop or blenderize foods. This will make it easier to eat, but not change the flavor.
Blenderize meats to add to soups, mashed potatoes and gravy.
Blenderize fruit to add to milk or yogurt.
Blenderize vegetables to add to hot milk or soups.
Blenderize pasta and casserole type dishes.
Blenderize cottage cheese and fruit.
Blenderize a piece of pie with a scoop of ice cream.
Blenderize ice cubes with fruit to make an icy slush.
- Moisten dry foods in liquids: dip crackers in soup, toast in cocoa, and cookies in milk.
- Sauce your foods. Add sauces to your meat and vegetables such as, margarine, butter, gravy, cheese sauce, or cream sauce.
- Serve soups lukewarm or at room temperature.
- Eat or drink cool foods or drinks which tend to be soothing.
- Try using a straw.
- Eat in a restaurant that features a buffet where there are a variety of foods you can try in small amounts. You can add sauces and liquids to the foods as you like. Some patients say it is nice to choose the off-hours when there are not as many other people there eating.
- Make a soothing, cleansing mouth rinse with 1 teaspoon of baking soda in one cup of warm water.
- Some patients report that holding a wet tea bag on sore areas of your mouth feels good.
- Keep small pieces of fruit in the freezer and suck and chew on them between meals. The cold fruit may be soothing to a sore mouth. Fruits that work well include: blueberries, banana pieces, cherries, fruit cocktail, peach slices, Mandarin oranges, and melon balls
- If your mouth or throat becomes too sore, ask your doctor about medicines that may help lessen the pain.
How to Take Care of Your Mouth:
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush. Be gentle when you brush. Avoid pressing too hard so that you won’t hurt your gums.
- Avoid flossing if it makes your mouth bleed or you have never done it before.
- Keep your mouth and gums clean to prevent infections. Check with your dentist often.
- Avoid mouthwash products that contain a large amount of salt, alcohol, or ingredients that might bother your mouth.
- Use lip balm to keep your lips moist.
- Consult your dentist about using a fluoride gel to help prevent severe tooth decay that can develop when the mouth is dry.
Things to Avoid:
- Avoid very hot or very cold foods.
- Avoid other foods and drinks that might hurt your mouth such as:
tart or acidic fruits or juices
dry or hard foods such as crackers or toast
course or fibrous foods such as bran, nuts, granola, raw vegetables
spicy or hot foods
very salty foods
Recommended references: Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook, John Wiley & Sons, Publisher, 2002.
If you are a UW Health patient and have further questions or concerns, please call the nutritionist at the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, (608) 263-9128.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/03/2012
Copyright © 08/03/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#503
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