Woman scooped a baked sweet potato out from the skin of the potato and into a pot to mash.
Nutrition, Tips for Side Effects

3 Tips for Soothing Mouth Sores

Mouth sores during cancer treatment can be painful and affect your ability to eat. These sores can come from chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation and often require medication and strategies like those below to strategies like those below which can make eating and drinking easier.

Eating Strategies

1. Opt for Soothing Foods (Soft, Bland and Moist): 

  • Fish, moist-cooked chicken, ground beef or turkey   

  • Yogurt, cheese, and eggs   

  • Mashed regular or sweet potatoes, pasta, hot cereals, or moist cold cereals  

  • Cooked lentils and beans  

  • Cooked vegetables  

  • Ripe, fresh, or canned fruits  

 2. Avoid Irritating Foods (Sharp Edges, Acidity, or Spiciness):

  • Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, pineapple, and other citrus fruit or juice   

  • Tomato sauce and tomato juice  

  • Raw vegetables, granola, toast, crackers, and other rough, crunchy, or dry foods  

  • Spices, seasonings, and condiments such as pepper, chili powder, curry powder, salsa, pepper sauces, horseradish, ketchup, and vinegar 

3. Temperature and Texture: 

  • Consume foods at cool or room temperature if heat causes irritation 

  • Consider nutrient-dense protein shakes/smoothies with a straw to bypass mouth sores

BONUS TIP: Add oils, butter, gravies, sauces and mashed avocado to foods whenever possible. This increases both the moisture and calorie content of foods.

Staying Hydrated

Dry mouth can accompany mouth sores, and drinking enough fluids helps. Aim to drink 2-3 liters of water daily unless advised otherwise.

Choose fluids like water, milk, herbal tea (cooled down as needed), and protein shakes. For additional relief, try hydrating with frozen treats like popsicles or ice chips.

Other ways to decrease dry mouth include trying saliva replacement products like Biotene and keeping your lips moisturized with products such as gentle lip balms or Aquaphor.

Special Considerations

Handle dentures and removable appliances with care. Refrain from wearing them to bed and ensure daily cleaning with an antibacterial solution.

If you notice your dentures fitting looser or tighter, ask your dentist to adjust them. Weight gain or loss during treatment can cause dentures to lose their fit, which can irritate your mouth and gums.

Have Questions?

Adapting to chewing and swallowing changes due to mouth sores can be challenging. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Iris Care Team for further support and personalized advice.

This article meets Iris standards for medical accuracy. It has been fact-checked by the Iris Clinical Editorial Board, our team of oncology experts who ensure that the content is evidence based and up to date. The Iris Clinical Editorial Board includes board-certified oncologists and pharmacists, psychologists, advanced practice providers, licensed clinical social workers, oncology-certified nurses, and dietitians.