Dental Issues and RAI

Summary of ThyCa Conference Presentation

At ThyCa's 2003 Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Conference, participants heard from a dental expert about dental issues associated with thyroid cancer, particularly the effects of radioactive iodine on oral health.

Mark S. Chambers, M.S., D.M.D., Dentist and Oral Oncologist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, shared information about the protocol followed at M.D. Anderson.

  • At M.D. Anderson, patients receive a dental cleaning before treatment for all forms of thyroid cancer.
  • Also important is follow-up care after radioiodine treatment, to neutralize the changed acidity of saliva.
  • Dr. Chambers told participants that upon noticing any change in taste or saliva, they should stop using commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes and switch to ultra-soft toothpastes and mouthwashes without alcohol, phenol or whitening agents.
  • A good alternative to commercial products is baking soda for use as a scrubbing agent and baking soda mixed with water as mouthwash—to be used 4-5 times daily. For mouthwash, Dr. Chambers suggested mixing one heaping teaspoon of baking soda with 10 ounces of water.
  • Dr. Chambers also stressed the importance of flossing daily.

Last updated: October 23, 2006