Mouth care

Mouth Care - Mucositis/Mouth Ulcers

Cells in the mouth can be affected by chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the head and neck. Keeping the mouth and teeth as clean as possible is important.

Your child will feel more comfortable and you can help prevent an infection from occurring in the mouth.

Mouth ulcers

Some chemotherapy medicines and radiation therapy to the head and neck can cause mouth ulcers - this is called mucositis (or inflammation of the mucous membranes).

The inside of the mouth and the tongue may be red. You may see white plaques (small raised areas in the mouth and on the tongue. These plaques are from a fungal infection known as thrush.

If mouth ulcers are a problem:

  • give your child fluid with a straw
  • avoid hot, spicy, dry, coarse or acidic foods
  • eat soft, tender, or pureed foods
  • cut foods into small pieces.

Ulcer care:

  • rinse the mouth with water at least four times each day. Do not use mouthwash that contains alcohol
  • your doctor may give your child a medicine to treat a fungal infection in the mouth (thrush).
  • if the mouth ulcers are painful, your doctor will give your child medication for the pain

Call the hospital if your child cannot drink fluids, swallow saliva or if the medicine does not help take away the pain.

Mouth care

Depending on your child's age and preferences, your nurse will show you how to use what the doctor gives you to keep your child's mouth clean and comfortable.

  • your doctor may prescribe a further mouth care routine suitable for your child which usually includes a mouthwash (eg Bicarb mouthwash) and anti-fungal preparation (eg Nilstat, Daktarin Gel, or Fungilin)
  • have your child brush their teeth with a soft toothbrush after each meal and before bed. 
Last updated Saturday 9th December 2023