Watch Your Mouth: Oral Care After Chemo + Menopause

Oral care is not something I had to think much about until recently.

I never had braces, and didn’t have a cavity filled until I was well into my 20s. Then everything changed.

Enduring chemotherapy and being plunged into early menopause has drastically, and negatively, altered the environment within my mouth. In the past couple of months I have had 3 cavities filled, and now wear a night guard to bed for grinding and gum recession.

The kicker? I can barely see, feel or notice any difference.

But the dentist doesn’t lie, and if I don’t pay attention it could get much worse.

I have endured chemotherapy twice, in two different applications: systemic via PowerPoint and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemo (HIPEC). It was only recently that I became hyperaware of the effects these treatments have had on my mouth.

Effects of chemotherapy on oral health:

  • Mouth dryness caused by reduced salivary production
  • Disruption of the balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria
  • Tooth decay from dryness and harmful bacteria
  • Infection due to damaging of cells in the lining of the mouth

And if chemo wasn’t enough, my hysterectomy also catapulted my early journey into menopause, compounding the degradation of my formerly unscathed mouth.

Effects of menopause on oral health:

  • Fluctuations in hormone levels can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to recession
  • Pain, burning sensations, altered taste perception and dry mouth

Basically my mouth is super dry now, which is leading to amplified decay and sensitivity. Ugh.

The good news?

There’s an abundance of modern oral care products that are not only effective, but super cute and fun. And let’s face it: brushing and flossing are not exactly fun.

Aside from staying on top of my normal oral care routine and wearing a night guard to bed (I use this one from Target), I have begun to add in a few new products to keep my mouth happy.

Cocofloss

I’ll be honest, I really hate flossing. But Cocofloss is starting to change that. The thick, blue floss is soft, textured, and includes coconut oil for added comfort and clean. And it’s cute, with exciting flavors to boot!

The first time I used Cocofloss I saw more “muck” than I had with any other floss. Gross, but is there anything better than a beauty product that really shows you what it’s doing?

Keeko Oil Pulling Packs

Oil pulling is not something that seemed very pleasant to me. Swishing a mouthful of lukewarm oil around my mouth for 15-ish minutes in the morning? Blech.

But remember how I mentioned the whole “dry mouth” thing above? Enter: Keeko oil.

Haven’t tried oil pulling? Keeko is a great gateway to the practice. The benefits of oil pulling include aiding in hormonal changes, promoting oral hygiene, detoxification, teeth whitening, and more. In other words, oil pulling ails a lot of the negative side effects I listed above.

I am only 31 with a lot of life ahead of me, and because of chemo and menopause my oral care routine has gone from average to over the top.

So, just a couple of suggestions if you’re looking to amp up your oral care routine (we all should!), but mainly a reminder to be vigilant about what’s happening within your mouth.

I’m looking forward to seeing what else is out there to make this side of self-care a bit more pleasant.

Any suggestions?

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This post contains affiliate links, and Cocofloss and Keeko provided me with free samples to test their products. Opinions are my own.
curedlife

Creator

Betsy Brockett was diagnosed with Mesothelioma at the age of 28, and continues to thrive despite the challenges that cancer has created in her life. Holding a degree in Art & Visual Technology from George Mason University, Betsy expresses herself through writing, photography, painting, pottery, and more. She is most often found cultivating, creating, practicing/teaching yoga, or simply enjoying the beauty of life.

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