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Oral Health Tips for Mouth Cancer Survivors in the UAE

13 Nov, 2023

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Surviving mouth cancer is a significant accomplishment, but the journey doesn't end with successful treatment. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the prevalence of mouth cancer is relatively high, it's essential for survivors to maintain optimal oral health. The effects of cancer treatment can have long-lasting impacts on oral health, making it crucial to adopt a proactive approach. This blog will provide mouth cancer survivors in the UAE with valuable oral health tips to help them navigate life after treatment.

1. Understand the Consequences of Treatment

Before delving into specific tips, it's essential for survivors to comprehend the potential consequences of mouth cancer treatment. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause a range of oral health issues, including:

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  1. Xerostomia (Dry Mouth): Reduced saliva flow is a common side effect, leading to increased risk of cavities and oral infections.
  2. Mucositis: Inflammation and sores in the mouth can be painful and lead to difficulty eating and drinking.
  3. Dental Complications: Radiation therapy can damage teeth, leading to increased susceptibility to cavities.
  4. Tissue Fibrosis: Scarring of mouth tissues can cause limited mouth opening and discomfort.

2. Partner with an Experienced Dentist

One of the first steps for mouth cancer survivors is to find a dentist experienced in post-cancer care. They can provide specialized care and advice to address the unique challenges survivors face. Regular check-ups are crucial to monitor and manage potential complications. Some survivors may need a prosthodontist for reconstructive work or oral surgeons for complex procedures.

3. Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene

Maintaining oral hygiene is paramount for mouth cancer survivors in the UAE. Here are some important steps to follow:

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  1. Regular Brushing and Flossing: Brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove food particles and prevent cavities.
  2. Saliva Substitutes: If suffering from dry mouth, use saliva substitutes or sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
  3. Alcohol-Free Mouthwash: Choose alcohol-free mouthwash to avoid further drying out the mouth.

4. Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet is crucial for mouth cancer survivors. Consider these tips:

  1. Soft, Nutrient-Rich Foods: Opt for soft, nutrient-dense foods like yogurt, pureed vegetables, and protein-rich smoothies, especially if you have difficulty chewing.
  2. Limit Sugar and Acid: Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks, as they can contribute to tooth decay and mouth sores.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to combat dry mouth and help with overall health.

5. Regular Check-ups and Follow-ups

Survivors should schedule regular follow-up appointments with their oncologists and dentists to monitor any potential recurrence or oral health issues. These check-ups are crucial for early detection and treatment.

6. Smoking and Alcohol Cessation

If you were a smoker or heavy alcohol consumer before your mouth cancer diagnosis, quitting these habits is vital to reduce the risk of a recurrence. Smoking and alcohol use are known risk factors for oral cancer, so staying smoke-free and limiting alcohol consumption are essential steps in maintaining your oral health.

7. Support and Counselling

Mouth cancer survivors in the UAE can benefit from support groups and counseling services to help them navigate the emotional and psychological aspects of their journey. Coping with the aftermath of cancer treatment can be challenging, and sharing experiences with others who've been through similar situations can provide invaluable support.

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Resources for Mouth Cancer Survivors in the UAE

In the UAE, there are several resources and organizations dedicated to supporting cancer survivors. These organizations offer a wide range of services and information that can be incredibly beneficial for mouth cancer survivors:

1. Cancer Support Groups

  1. Cancer Patient Care Society UAE: This non-profit organization provides emotional and financial support to cancer patients and their families in the UAE. They offer various services, including counseling and support groups, to help survivors cope with the challenges of cancer.
  2. Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP): FOCP is a prominent UAE-based charity that provides comprehensive support to cancer patients. They offer psychosocial support, including counseling and support groups, to help survivors navigate life after cancer.

2. Oral Health Services

  1. Dubai Dental Hospital: This specialized dental facility in Dubai offers comprehensive oral care, including services tailored to cancer survivors. They have experienced professionals who can address specific concerns related to oral health after cancer treatment.
  2. Tawam Dental Center: Located in Al Ain, this center is known for its expertise in post-cancer dental care. They offer a range of services, from preventive care to restorative procedures.

3. Lifestyle and Wellness Support

  1. UAE Cancer Society: This organization provides valuable information on leading a healthy lifestyle and offers support to cancer survivors in terms of nutrition, exercise, and psychological well-being.
  2. UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention: The government's health department offers resources and guidelines related to cancer care and prevention. They also provide information about various healthcare facilities and services across the UAE.

In Conclusion

Mouth cancer survivors in the United Arab Emirates face unique challenges as they transition to life after cancer treatment. By following the oral health tips and utilizing the resources available, survivors can significantly improve their quality of life. Regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene, and a focus on a healthy lifestyle are key components of maintaining excellent oral health. Additionally, the support of healthcare professionals, support groups, and cancer-related organizations in the UAE can provide invaluable assistance in coping with the physical and emotional aspects of survivorship.

Surviving mouth cancer is a testament to strength and resilience. By taking proactive steps and utilizing available resources, survivors in the UAE can look forward to a future filled with good oral health, overall well-being, and the joy of life beyond cancer.

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FAQs

Survivors in the UAE often face a higher risk of oral health complications due to the region's prevalence of mouth cancer. This makes maintaining good oral health vital to their overall well-being.