Mouth sores are a painful, uncomfortable cancer treatment side effect that many patients suffer. These painful sores are a reminder of your situation, which makes them feel much more uncomfortable and intrusive.
Patients often ask how to prevent and manage mouth sores. Truth be told, different remedies work for different people. The good news is that there are many natural remedies that can be used to manage mouth sores.
Mouth Sores (Oral Mucositis)
Mouth sores are caused by many things in addition to cancer treatments, including: irritating the environment of your mouth through friction from hard-brushing, braces, accidental biting or the habit of it, or rough food.
- Chewing on tobacco
- Herpes simplex virus
- Hormonal changes
- Deficiency in Folate, B2, B3, B12, Iron, Calcium and Zinc. With Vitamin B12 deficiency being the most common cause.
- Insufficient protein
- Bacterial Infection
- Too much acidic food
- Digestive Flora Imbalance
And radiation or chemotherapy treatments can amplify the effects of many of these factors – causing mouth sores throughout a course of treatment.
Dealing with Mouth Sores
Here are some simple, gentle ways to relieve pain and to help mouth sores heal faster. Each also treats the rest of your body with consideration, care and kindness. In addition, there are some tips and information that may help you avoid mouth sores during your treatments.
Treatment and Healing:
Restore more normal PH levels in your mouth (which can be changed by cancer treatment)
- Gargle a mixture of 1 tsp. baking soda and ½ cup water; you can also opt to add a pinch of Pink Salt or Himalayan Salt for an added antibiotic and alkalizing benefit.
- Gargle a 1 tsp. Milk of Magnesia or use a cotton swab to apply it to the sores
- Gargle Green tea or Matcha green tea, on top of consuming it regularly as well for added benefits
- Gargle water from soaked Licorice Root
- Make tea or paste from plants that have hydrating and antibiotic properties:
- Sage (also has properties that help reduce inflammation)
Cooling and Coating for pain relief
- Ice Chips are often the first thing to try for pain relief.
- Use Coconut oil to coat mouth sores
- Apply Honey to mouth sores.
- Apply coriander seeds paste (made from boiled coriander seeds, or coriander powder and water)
- Historically, dentists used: Clove Essential Oil. (Mix 25ml Olive Oil to 5 drops Clove Essential Oil and dab this on the sores)
- Spray mixture of essential oils for numbing: 1tbsp olive/grape seed oil, 10 drops peppermint oil, 4 drops eucalyptus oil
Restore balance of your gut flora
- Consume probiotic drinks/food like Yogurt and Kefir
- Ask your doctor about taking raw probiotics, Erceflora, as well.
- Recover deficient Vitamins to help healing and prevent further breakout
- Take Supplements especially Vitamin C to preserve Ph levels in the mouth.
- When it is painful to eat or chew, use cold drinks, popsicles, Jell-O, smoothies or cooled soups to get the nutrients your body needs for healing. Include ingredients that provide a Vitamin B12 boost: (Bananas; Spirulina -Vitamin B booster-; Spinach; Almond; Soy Mill; Kale; Strawberry; Carrots)
- Eating boiled egg whites are also an easy-to-eat, good source of protein. And eat them cold for a bit more relief.
- Keep both your mouth and body well hydrated
- Drink as much water as you can tolerate
- Chew on no-sugar gum or candy to stimulate your salivary glands
- Keep your mouth clean:
- Brush regularly using a gentle/soft-bristle brush
- Gently floss between teeth
- Gargle with one of the solutions mentioned above
Prevention and Healthy Practices
Prevention is always the best cure. Here are things to monitor and manage to prevent mouth sores while you are going through your treatments:
- Consume essential nutrients such Vitamin B Folate, Iron, Calcium and Zinc, by eating foods or taking supplements before and after your treatments.
- Avoid intake of acidic food especially just before and right after treatment so as not to disturb your mouth’s PH level. Reduce the amount of regular Iced Tea, soda and coffee which also change the PH in your mouth.
- Good hygiene is really important but remember to be gentle with your oral care regimen, no hard brushing no matter how much it makes you feel better.
- Take care of your gut flora by keeping probiotics in your diet or talking to your doctor about regularly consuming Erceflora during treatment.
Taking a few of these simple steps each day can help you lessen the pain and discomfort of mouth sores during your treatment. They may even help you avoid or lessen the number of sores you experience. And remember, it always feels better to focus on what you can control at a time when so much feels out of your control.
Disclosure: These are recommendations only. If your side effects are affecting you, it is important to talk with members of your healthcare team.