ENT radiotherapy: a short survival guide…

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      A patient, currently undergoing radiotherapy or having just undergone one, will be keen to have as impeccable oral hygiene as possible, in order to limit the risks of gingivitis or dental infection, potentially generating a dreaded maxillary or mandibular osteoradionecrosis.

      But the diameter of the bristles of a toothbrush is not zero, they cannot access the bottom of the interdental crevices, thus opening the way to gingivitis or cavities; on the other hand, a dental water jet (device available in all household appliance stores for a modest fee) can be as fine as the said crevices and therefore extract the slightest food debris found there, thus limiting the risks mentioned .

      Furthermore, no matter how soft they are, toothbrushes weaken tooth enamel, to the point that it is nowadays recommended by all health professionals concerned to wait half an hour after a meal to brush your teeth, so as not to add the mechanical abrasion of the brush to the weakening of the enamel by the acidity of food.

      Radiotherapy also causing significant hyposialia (lack of saliva) further aggravating the risk of cavities, it is very desirable to get supplemented with en vitamine D3, fluoride and magnesium, the doses recommended by ANSES for these three food supplements (available in all pharmacies) being respectively 15 µg/day, 2.9 mg/day and 280 mg/day for women, and 15 µg/day, 3.4 mg/day and 380 mg/day for men.

      Similarly, during or after radiotherapy, the mouth is hyper sensitive and just chewing food can cause almost unbearable pain.

      But it is difficult for patients living with family to force their loved ones to only consume pureed foods; and even for single patients, it is preferable to avoid ultra-processed foods from supermarkets, which always contain potentially carcinogenic additives, and to this end, to puree by themselves the famous “five fruits and vegetables” recommended by all media.

      This operation is greatly facilitated by the use of a hand blender, which makes it possible to reduce to a pulp an individual portion of fruit or vegetables placed in a suitable container (typically of the “mug” type), thus avoiding specific preparation for the patients living with family.

      Hoping that this information will help the patients concerned as well as their loved ones…😊…

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