Went to the dentist today, and I knew the cavities they found last year were still there. But, I didn't know that one of the fillings they put in last year wasn't sealed properly, hence the sensitivity I've been having. *sigh*
So, quick recap - last year, went to the dentist in January, and found out that for the first time in my life, I have cavities. Not one or two, but several, which can be traced back almost exclusively to the chemo. Found out that chemo not only inhibits your body's ability to fight infection (never even though that included plaque, etc.), but it also causes dry mouth, which helps plaque and other bacteria in your mouth grow more rapidly.
Dentist today told me that he wishes each cancer patient was told at their first meeting to go to their dentist and get fluoride treatments, which can be done at home and fairly inexpensively, and that this would have almost completely protected me from dental decay.
*mental head slap*
Why isn't this information talked about more freely? I get that there are WAY more important things to talk about at meetings, but mention it casually and those that care about their dental health might pay heed and actually do something about it...instead of having to deal with three appointments to have fillings (too many for me to feel comfy talking about), gingivectomy (yes - they have to remove some of the gum tissue to get at one - doesn't that sound like fun?), etc. Good times. I've never been one to hate the dentist, but I'm getting to that point very quickly.
Having said that, if you or someone you know has been recently diagnosed, PLEASE go talk with your dentist about preventative dental care (not cleanings or x-rays, but fluoride) to try to avoid or minimize the effects of chemo on your pearly whites.