What not to do

The following suggestions on “What not to do” following treatment for head and neck cancer and/or the Niemtzow Therapy for Dry Mouth will help minimise the effects of Dry Mouth.

Smoking and Alcohol – either reduce it to a bare minimum or quit altogether.

Fluids – avoid soft drinks that can cause your mouth to dry out.  Avoid all Non sugar-free drinks as drinks with high sugar levels can help accelerate tooth and gum decay to which patients of head and neck treatment and particularly those with dry mouth may be more prone.

Continuous exposure to air conditioning – avoid direct contact with the diffusers of air conditioning systems.  For example, hotel bedrooms sometimes have systems that diffuse conditioned air within close proximity of dry mouth sufferers.  Night time use of the air conditioning system should be reduced to a minimum as this can cause drying out of the mouth during the night.  When in an air conditioned environment such as car, office, home try to breath through your nose at all times.

Scuba diving and Snorkelling – scuba diving in particular will cause your mouth to dry out excessively – avoid at all costs.  Snorkelling can be undertaken but only for short periods with frequent intakes of fresh drinking water.  Avoid the consumption of sea water.

Foods and Drinks – avoid food that have a high salt content as these will exacerbate thirst.   Avoid frequent intake of alcohol as these can cause dehydration and acceleration of dry mouth conditions.

Insufficient Oral Hygiene – ensure sufficient oral hygiene at all times.  Clean your teeth, directly following a meal or snack with suitable high fluoride toothpaste such as Duraphat 5000 or Alcohol Free mouth wash.  Clean between your teeth with floss and/or interden sticks (your dental surgeon can recommend the appropriate size).  Continue the use of lubricants and gels as and when you feel appropriate,  arrange for a regular dental hygienist visit at least once every six months.