What To Do When Your Mouth or Throat Hurts
What to do when your mouth or throat hurts during radiation therapy.
Gina and Kim met in their cancer support group. They found they had a lot in common and now meet every Tuesday for lunch. Letís listen in as Kim shares some tips with her friend Gina.
KimóIím glad I could meet you for lunch today. The tip you gave me last week on the mouthwash really helped. I mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Then I swish it around in my mouth and spit it out. I do this every 1 to 2 hours during the day, and itís working. I also brush very gently with a soft, clean toothbrush after every meal.
Glad to hear rinsing with baking soda and salt is working for you, Gina. Keep it up. Itíll help your mouth stay clean and feel better. You know, my nurse gave me some other tips that may help you.
Great, like what?
Well, my mouth got so dry that my nurse told me to use a saliva substitute spray. It helped moisten my mouth. I also sipped water and sucked on ice chips to keep my mouth and throat wet.
I have a terribly dry mouth. This spray works?
Yes, it does. So does eating soft foods. I used to mash foods with a fork or put them in the blender. Adding gravy, broth, or yogurt can also make your food easier to swallow.
Oh, and I took my nurseís advice to stop eating sharp foods, like chips. I also avoided the three Sís Ė salty, sugary, and spicy foods Ė and cut back on sour drinks, like orange, lemon, and grapefruit juice, that hurt my mouth and throat.
Making foods soft and moist is a good idea. And I think Iíll stay away from salty, sugary or spicy foods, and sour drinks.
Iím trying to remember any other hints from my nurse . . . Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing. I got in the habit of checking my mouth every morning and letting my nurse know about any changes when I first noticed them. That way, any small problems didnít become big ones.
That sounds doable.
Just remember, if your mouth still hurts, ask your doctor about medicine for the pain. Donít put up with pain that you donít have to. Okay?
Gina, Iím hungry. Letís order. There are lots of choices on the menu that wonít hurt your mouth.
Yeahóthought Iíd start off with my favorite, cream of broccoli soup, maybe some mashed potatoes. I just love those.
Mouth pain is no fun. Try rinsing with the baking soda and salt mixture Gina found so helpful. Just mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Stir it up. Then swish it around in your mouth and spit it out. Do this every 1 to 2 hours during the day. This keeps your mouth clean. So does brushing after every meal.
Avoid the three ďSĒ foods Ė salty, sugary, and spicy foods. And donít have sour drinks like orange, lemon, or grapefruit juice if they hurt your mouth or throat.
And remember, you do not have to put up with mouth sores and throat pain. Call your doctor and ask for medicine that can help.