NUTRITIONAL HELP for cancer-related mouth and throat sores

Nutrition plays a key role in keeping your strength up during treatment — but it can be hard to focus on nutrition when it’s painful to swallow.

Often, the cause is oral mucositis, a cancer treatment side effect, that can cause mouth pain, infection, and bleeding. We’ve compiled these tips that may help you take in the nutrition you need to avoid unintended weight loss and declines in nutritional status that may interrupt your treatment plan.

Good oral hygiene can help lessen your chances of infection and make your mouth and throat less sensitive:

  • Brush your teeth 2-3 times per day with an extra-soft toothbrush, rinsing 3-4 times and flossing gently.
  • Rinse your mouth frequently with a baking soda rinse to remove food and bacteria and promote healing.
  • If dry mouth is a problem, try sucking on hard candy, sugar-free chewing gum, or frequently drinking water.
  • Numbing lozenges and sprays can relieve mouth and throat pain.

Making some changes in the way you prepare and eat meals and snacks can make eating a more positive experience:

  • Make swallowing easier by drinking through a straw and eating soft foods, such as soup, frozen yogurt, cottage cheese, macaroni & cheese, milkshakes, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs.
  • Modify the way you prepare food to avoid making mouth sores worse:
  • - Serve foods cold or at room temperature
  • - Cook food until it is soft and tender
  • - Use fewer spices and seasonings
  • - Cut foods into smaller pieces
  • - Mix foods with butter, sauces, or gravies to make them easier to swallow
  • Consider a nutrient-dense nutritional drink to help replenish and provide protein, vitamins and minerals.

Consider Avoiding

These foods may further irritate your mouth:

Citrus Fruits & Juices


Orange, Lemon, Lime


High Temperatures
Spicy Foods


Peppers, Garlic
Salty Foods


Nuts, Chips, Pretzels
Rough, Course, or Dry Foods


Raw vegetables, Toast, Granola

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