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Tips for dry mouth?
2 Posts
I’m a third of the way through radiation treatment to my head and neck, 11 down, 19 to go! I’m experiencing dry mouth and a gross taste in my mouth. Due to the taste in my mouth everything tastes gross and sometimes it’s even hard to swallow water.

Any suggestions? I’m doing the mouth rinse throughout the day after I eat (water, salt, baking soda). I’m also trying to suck on sugar free candies.

I'm switching up my liquids to keep it interesting - water, yea, ovaltine.

my throat has also started to hurt when swallowing.

4 Replies
8498 Posts

@hi @Brybry !!!your oncologist might be able to prescribe something called ‘magic mouthwash ’. Have you met @law1 yet? She may be able to help you with this…she had radiation to the same area.

731 Posts

Hi @Brybry and I was tagged as I had tongue cancer and understand your reactions regarding swallowing, yucky tastes, dry mouth…..all due to radiation effects.

Unfortunately, these are normal reactions and sometimes fade…sometimes not---I am a 3+ year survivor after 36 rounds of radiation and I have lost my salivary glands, senses of smell and taste, and have difficulty opening my mouth very wide. I am becoming used to enjoying textures of food, as that is about all I experience. I try to eat soft foods like soups, blended fruits and veggies, mashed potatoes, and sauces and gravy often help too. Do you drink lots of liquid? It's a good idea.

You may want to read all you can on the effects of radiation to the oral and nasal cavities…there are Publications available on this website and Brighty and Whitelillies gave some good resources to read as well. If you see the yellow bar at the top of this page, go to Forums, scroll to Types of Cancer, then select Head and Neck, you will find many folks who can share their similar knowledge during their cancer journey.

It is important to mention your symptoms to your oncologist, and your radiation team….a Nutritionist can also lend valuable input regarding how and what to eat and drink when your mouth is sore, as healthy nutrition is crucial and so is immaculate oral hygiene. Sometimes these symptoms fade away on their own, so you may find it becomes more tolerable to eat and taste foods that will become more pleasant. Also, you may want to try the Toll Free Cancer Helpline 1-888-939-3333 to speak with oncology trained staff who support you and can direct your searches too.

I am sorry you are going through this stage of treatment and recovery, and I hope you keep notes to discuss with your medical team. Hang in there!!!

444 Posts

Hello @Brybry

Great, you are more than 50% of the way through 58% to be exact. I used to do that as I was going through the radiation I had for throat cancer. 35 treatments. Dry mouth is a reality. I used to use xlylimelts at night time. Not sure of the spelling, but close enough. these worked well. Unfortunately it is something you need to get used to. I am 5 years post radiation now. I wake. up every night with dry mouth. small price to pay as I'm cancer free!

I found as I was into my treatments and my throat was getting sore and then extremely sore, I couldn't drink the tap water anymore. Whatever amount of chlorine they put into the water it would burn my throat. I switched to distilled water and that was perfect.

How did you find out you had cancer?



1 Posts

Hi Brybry,

I am 5 weeks post surgery/radiation/chemo for the same cancer, HPV tonsil/tongue with secondary lymph nodes.

I experience the dry mouth as well as the bad/no taste and constricted throat. Two things that helped me were;

using sparkling water (carbonated) to rinse; the salt in the recommended mouthwash as well as in Soda water seemed to aggravate the dryness.

Lots of oral hygiene, more than recommended. It seemed to help cut through the bad taste.

I also resorted to drinking hot water, not boiling but hot enough to sooth.

5 weeks post, those symptoms have dissipated somewhat and I can eat whole foods again although without much taste yet.

Hope this helps.

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