My teeth and Folfirinox treatment

I began my first cycle of Folfirinox on 9/10/19 and read that I may have dental issues, mouth sores, etc.

Is there anything that I could do to prevent this from happening?

  • Good afternoon 

    As you will know, everyone reacts differently to the chemotherapy drugs. 

    It would be a good idea to see a dentist before you start the chemotherapy. They can make sure there are no potential sources of infection in your mouth that could cause trouble whilst you are under treatment and your immune system is less effective at fighting infections.

    Some people can get mucositis, which is a painful condition where the lining of the mouth becomes inflamed. If you do get this, there are a number of products both prescribed and available over the counter that can help. Difflam/benzydamine mouthwash or spray is a non steroidal anti-inflammatory based medicine and can work quite well to numb the sore areas. You can buy this over the counter. There are various local anaesthetic ointmets that can be prescribed. Gelclair is another product which can be helpful for mucositis. For more severe cases of mucocitis, 'caphosol' mouthwash is available on prescription. Your hospital team may also have other products available, there are always new ones coming out.

    If your mouth is sore and you are unable to brush your teeth, then an alcohol free chlorhexidine 'corsodyl' mouthwash can help to keep your mouth clean. This can be diluted with water if it is too strong. There is also a gentle, flavourless toothpaste that is available to buy online, this is called 'oronurse'. You might find this useful if regular toothpaste is too nippy. A soft childrens or baby toothbrush can also be more gentle and comfortable.

    Sometimes with chemotherapy you can end up a bit more prone to fungal infections as your immune system is suppressed, but keeping your mouth as clean as possible with help guard against these. If you do encounter any problems with your mouth during treatment, then do see your dentist who will be able to help. Or you can ask your hospital team and they will be able to offer advice.

    Take care and wishing you all the best with your treatment, hopefully you won't encounter too much of what we have discussed but it is good to know what to do if you do suffer from a sore mouth.

    Please get in touch if any other questions crop up and we would be more than happy to help.

    Best wishes


    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.