Radiation therapy is harmful to oral health

Radiation therapy is harmful to oral health

According to the journal „International Journal of Dental Hygiene”, radiation therapy in patients dealing with head and neck cancer adversely affects the ratio of harmful and beneficial microorganisms residing in the oral cavity.

The study examined 33 people whose neck or head cancer was treated with radiation therapy. They took samples from the surface of the tongue and buccal mucous membranes – before therapy, during therapy, as well as six months, one year and two years after the end of therapy.

It turned out that before the therapy, microorganisms of the Lactobacillus family and Candida developed on the tongue, and there were fewer microorganisms of Streptococcus and Neisseria. Two years after the end of treatment, a significant increase in Candida was observed. After treatment on the buccal mucosa, the number of Gram-positive enteric bacilli and granulomas also increased very strongly. What's more, a significant number of patients underwent very serious oral mucositis during radiation therapy.

Most skin cancers are located on the head and neck. Few dermatologists can get such a good look at a calm patient's face, in perfect light. Such conditions only dentists have – says in an interview with Dentonet Dr. n. med. Bartholomew Kwiek, dermatologist. It also points out the first signs of cancerous changes on the skin, which must prompt a patient to be referred for further diagnostics.


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