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Sore Mouth, Tongue and Throat

Cancer and cancer treatments may cause a sore mouth, tongue and throat. Notify your medical provider of any symptoms that you are experiencing. Your medical provider can prescribe medications that can help numb and soothe your mouth, tongue or throat.

  • Consume frequent, small meals and snacks throughout the day.
  • Eat high protein, high calorie foods and beverages to ensure you are meeting your nutrition needs.
  • Eat slowly. Chew and swallow foods carefully.
  • Use a straw for drinking liquids to help avoid sore spots.
  • Eat foods that are soft, moist and bland like cream soups, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, pudding, eggs, cooked cereals, ice cream, casseroles, tender fish, pasta, cottage cheese, gelatin, shakes and smoothies.
  • Consider blending foods to a puree.
  • Add broth, soup, sauce, gravy, butter or margarine to help moisten foods.
  • You may better tolerate foods and beverages at room temperature or slightly chilled. Very hot foods and beverages may be irritating.
  • Include nutrition supplements such as Ensure®, Carnation Instant Breakfast® or Boost®.
  • Avoid dry, course and rough foods like dry toast and granola.
  • Avoid acidic foods like oranges, grapefruit, limes, lemons and tomatoes.
  • Avoid spices, seasonings and condiments like pepper, chili powder, cloves, nutmeg, salsa, pepper sauces, relish, pickles and horseradish.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
  • Maintain good oral care. Rinse your mouth often. Avoid commercial mouthwashes with alcohol. Make a rinse by mixing 1 quart of water, ¾ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda.

These suggestions are not meant to replace talking to your doctor and registered dietitian. For more information, schedule an appointment with the Registered Dietitian at the UW Carbone Cancer Center by contacting Cancer Connect by calling (608) 265-1700.