Can cancer treatment increase my risk of needing a tooth extraction?

The type of cancer treatment and type of cancer can greatly vary the impact on your oral health and what types of complications or problems you may experience with your teeth and mouth. Your dentist can advise what additional screenings or preventative measures may be needed to keep you in good oral health. Cancer treatment does not mean that you need to lose your teeth.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the first thing you should do before beginning cancer treatment is to see your dentist. After your treatment begins, be sure to check your mouth every day for sores or other changes. 

A symptom of throat or mouth cancer is a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down. Regular visits to your dentist can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.

Radiation treatment for cancer in the head and neck region can damage the salivary glands in the mouth. This can lead to decrease in salivary flow and reduce the buffering capacity in the mouth. As a result, teeth are less protected, and there is an increased risk of cavities and need for extraction.

If your cancer treatment includes radiation therapy, then yes. Indirectly radiation therapy can increase your risk of tooth extraction. However, it doesn't necessarily mean you will need to get your teeth pulled. 

Radiation, especially powerful long-term radiation, can damage the salivary glands in your mouth. Saliva acts as a buffer. Bacteria feed off an acidic environment. When the salivary glands are no longer producing saliva, you will get dry mouth which can lead an increased risk of tooth decay. 

People undergoing radiation treatment need to take particular care of their oral hygiene. Spend time and thoroughly clean your mouth everyday. See your dentist for dental products and rinses that will help you maintain good oral hygiene. 
Radiation and chemotherapy for cancer can increase your likelihood of having oral complications.