PART 1 Rinse and Repeat
Oral hygiene will probably be part of the Chemo 101 that you completely forget or don't bother to pay attention to. You clean your teeth, right? Morning and evening? And go to the dentist regularly?
Mouths are a very easy infection site. A tiny cut can turn into a bit of a disaster quite quickly.
Here's the bits you didn't hear in Chemo 101.
Go to the dentist before chemo, not during. Dentists and hygenists are all very good but they don't seem to understand that any small cut in the mouth can be very dangerous when having chemo - infection site that you regularly swill around with food and drink. Show me an oral clinician who can resist using that pointy thing and tutting about plaque or cleaning your gums with that buzzy hadron collider toothbrush thingy. There is something about the profession that attracts perfectionists and, right now, that may not be what your teeth, gums and tongue need.
Buy an electric toothbrush.
Buy SOFT heads for the electric toothbrush. No maximum impact hadron collider heads please....
Clean thoroughly but gently. See above for blood, cuts and infection.
Don't poke around with those packs of things to get bits out from between your teeth. Or use toothpicks except with extreme caution. See above for blood, cuts and infection.
Make friends with Corsodyl. Sloosh a lot. Preferably every time you pass the bathroom or keep a bottle in the kitchen/handbag for after you have eaten/drunk something. See above for blood, cuts and infection.
Be aware that slooshing a lot is a good thing but that mouthwash can stain your teeth. Yup, that's right, people. The thing that they never advertise but may be in the small print if you have a magnifying glass. Mouthwash is well know by our chemo team for staining teeth.
Which is annoying as you can't go to get your teeth smartened up by dentist/hygenist - see above for blood, cuts and infection.
On the subject of food, beg, borrow or steal a friend like Christine, who arrives on a Tuesday afternoon with the surprise of the week supper for Wednesday nights. This week was lamb stew (delicious and served with microwave rice for ease!) and chocolate pie.
After chocolate pie, I break all rules and wait at least an hour before slooshing. Some things are more important than yellow teeth and savouring Christine's pie is one of them.