Chemotherapy can affect healthy cells in the lining of the mouth. Side effects may include:

  • Soreness and ulceration in the mouth
  • Mouth infections
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Bleeding gums

It is important to see your dentist before beginning chemotherapy treatment so they can advise you on any problems.

Keeping your mouth as clean as possible may help reduce side effects. You may also be advised to use certain mouthwashes, protective gels, or painkillers to ease any discomfort.

Eating a balanced diet may help your mouth to recover. You may need to avoid certain foods that can irritate the mouth. It may also help to refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol if you are at risk of mouth problems.


Chemotherapy may cause side effects in the mouth, including:

  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Changes in taste
  • Soreness
  • Mouth infections

Certain things can help us deal with problems that affect the mouth while undergoing chemotherapy. However, it is important that you tell your doctor or nurse if you experience mouth problems. They can see if you have an infection and can give you advice on your particular situation. If you feel unwell or have a high temperature, contact your hospital.

You may be advised to use certain mouthwashes, protective gels, or painkillers to ease any discomfort you may have. If your mouth problems cause you to experience difficulty having enough to eat or drink, your doctor may prescribe supplements or treatments.

Some people find that chemotherapy affects their appetite and sense of taste. There are ways to make your food more appetizing. It may be useful for you to talk about this with a nutritionist.

Although these side effects are unpleasant, they will subside and then go away little by little after your treatment concludes.


Radiotherapy administered to the head and neck can cause mouth problems, including the following:

  • Mouth and throat soreness
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Sticky saliva (mucus)

These side effects generally get better little by little after the treatment has concluded.

Sometimes, radiotherapy causes long-lasting or permanent effects. These are less common, though they can happen months or years after treatment is over. Two of the most common late-occurring effects are dryness of the mouth and greater risk of cavities. Your specialist can tell you if your treatment may cause late-occurring effects.

There are things that help you keep a healthy mouth during and after treatment. Talk to your specialist or nurse if you are experiencing mouth problems. They can give you advice and treatments to help.

If you are having problems eating and drinking as a result of mouth problems, you can see a dietitian for more support. We also have information on coping with problems eating.


Oral care is important while you are undergoing radiotherapy.

Keeping your mouth as clean as possible will help you protect your teeth. Radiotherapy may decrease the amount of saliva you produce, which increases the risk of cavities.

Visit your dentist or hygienist periodically. They can show you how to keep your mouth and teeth clean and can detect problems in a timely manner. Fluoride gels and rinses may help.

Oral care will help you during and after radiotherapy. You can take painkillers to help with any kind of pain.

Careful choice of foods to eat can help avoid sensations of malaise and reduce the risk of cavities. If you are having trouble eating, there are products and treatments that can help you get the nutrition you need.

Although these side effects are unpleasant, most people find that they improve and then go away little by little after the treatment concludes.