Impact of cancer treatment on your oral health

Spotlight Oral Care has teamed up with Shannen Joyce, better known on social media as big_C_and_me to highlight the impact cancer treatment has on your overall oral health.

Shannen is a long-term user of our products and a big fan, she explains how Spotlight Oral care helped her throughout her cancer treatment and her product recommendations for anyone going through a similar journey.

Hello everyone,

I first got Cancer in 2014 at just 19 years of age, thankfully I had chemotherapy and went into remission. Unfortunately, just last summer at 24 years of age, I relapsed and was diagnosed for the second time. When I heard my treatment plan and knew I had to go for chemo again the first thing that popped into my head was 'oh no the metal mouth'.

Using Spotlight Oral Care Mouthwash to rid that metal taste

This is something I had always dreaded with treatment, chemo kills your taste buds and I had a constant taste of metal in my mouth, even when I drank water. Back in 2014, I just sucked it up and went along with it, but this time was great. I had been using the Spotlight Oral Care Mouthwash, so every time I ate, I used a bit beforehand to freshen my mouth up and it really helped with tasting things a little better too.


Switching to a Bamboo Toothbrush

From treatment I also had extremely sensitive gums, they would bleed when I brushed them I switched over to a bamboo brush also from Spotlight Oral Care, you can get them in packs of 5 so all the family use them too, the softer bristles definitely helped with this.

Rebuilding Toothpaste to strengthen my teeth

The enamel in my teeth also weakened, my dentist assured me it was normal from treatment but I hated that my teeth were beginning to look a little bit see through. My own dentist actually recommended that I use the Spotlight Oral Care Rebuilding Toothpaste. I had already been using the Sensitive paste but I switched it up. Every second day I would alternate the paste I would use. This 100% helped my teeth and even protected them from the remainder of my treatment.

 

    

Focusing on my oral care products and routine

I had lots of mouth sores during treatment and this was really unpleasant. It was bad enough that every time I ate or drank I couldn’t taste properly but now I was getting these sores which sometimes stopped me from eating completely! I was prescribed mouthwashes and gels with steroids in them and had to take them a few times a day. I still used my bamboo toothbrush and Spotlight Oral Care’s toothpaste in between the prescription stuff. To be honest, for about a month when the ulcers were really bad, I used Spotlight Oral Care’s Total Care toothpaste.


When I went in for a stem cell transplant in November 2019 I was pre-warned by my consultant I could develop Mucositis which is extremely painful. Basically, you get ulcers and blisters which can start in your mouth, cover your tongue, the roof of your mouth and even go down your throat and oesophagus. It got really bad and for days I couldn’t even brush my teeth with the pain so I just used my prescription mouthwashes.

 

 

 

The importance of using products with active ingredients


Dr. Lisa Creaven really stresses the importance of using products that have active ingredients that target all of these issues but are also free from irritants such as SLS as that ingredient in particular can worsen ulcers.

“All of our products contain clinically proven ingredients to reduce dental infections but are also very mild and suitable to use if you are going through this difficult time.”

 

Brightening up my teeth after treatment


After I got home from the transplant, my mouth recovered and I started using my Spotlight Oral Care pastes again, always alternating between a few, depending how my mouth felt that specific day/week.
I noticed from the lack of oral care during the transplant that my teeth had become yellow and discoloured. It was a very intense treatment and some days I wouldn’t even have energy to brush my teeth!

I ordered the spotlight whitening kit and used the whitening strips on/off for a while and started using the whitening toothpaste full time. I saw a massive difference in the colour of my teeth. My smile was so much whiter and brighter. My partner started using the whitening paste himself when he saw the difference in my teeth. I was a bit nervous about using whitening products as my teeth and mouth had suffered through chemo but honestly it was brilliant.

Switching from a manual brush to the Sonic brush


The girls then kindly sent me out a Sonic toothbrush, this was in April and I haven’t looked back since. It has been unreal! The girls then sent one out for Barry and he is just as obsessed with his. The different settings and intensity of the toothbrush make it so easy to give your teeth a proper full clean. I feel like I’m just out of the dentist every time I use it!

We did a little bit of research and Vanessa gave me some great advice when I was asking about my little girl Róisín's teeth and what I should be using (she's 3) and she uses the kid's toothpaste from Spotlight also. I ranted and raved so much about my toothbrush, 7 of my family members have now bought one and they love it just as much as I do!

Dr. Lisa agrees:

“A sonic brush is a great way to improve oral health while going through chemo as it is so thorough but still very gentle on your gums.” 

Understanding the effects chemo can have on oral care


I hope you have enjoyed reading through my experiences with my oral care throughout my cancer treatment, I hope it helps even one person. Before I had to go through chemo, I always thought about my nauseous belly or the headaches it may cause. I never actually knew the effect chemo could have on your mouth, teeth and gums.

I would 100% recommend any cancer patients who are going through treatment to invest in some Spotlight Oral Care products. You won’t be sorry, get a few different kinds of toothpaste to suit your needs. 100% get the Bamboo toothbrushes as they soft bristles will help with the sore gums and they're environmentally friendly so win-win! 

On the final note, Dr. Lisa says:

“As dentists, a lot of our patients unfortunately undergo chemotherapy and this really impacts the health and comfort of your mouth. From ulcers, dry mouth, more decay and more gum disease. It's so important that our patients are using the correct products to reduce the risk of decay and infection in the mouth and also to reduce the discomfort of ulcers in their mouth.”