- This is a common symptom causing significant morbidity and distress.
- It is a side effect of commonly used drugs (antidepressants, anticholinergics, morphine etc.) and radiotherapy to the head and neck.
- Oral candida must be excluded and if present treated with nystatin oral suspension, Mycostatin™ pastilles or miconazole gel. Parenteral antifungals, e.g., fluconazole, may be necessary for severe cases or when oesophageal candida is suspected.
- Attention to mouth cares and moistening is very important especially in the terminal phase when oral intake is reduced – this includes ice to suck, sips of water and swabs moistened with water applied to mouth and lips.
- Lemon and Glycerine swabs should NOT be used as the acidity causes mouth problems after short periods of use. USE jumbo swabs moistened with fluids as desired by patient.
- Sodabic mouthwashes QID are often effective (1 tsp sodium bicarbonate powder dissolved in water) or sodabic impregnated mouth swabs.
- Diluted Difflam™ mouthwashes to assist with oral hygiene.
- Hydrogen Peroxide is occasionally necessary for a severely coated tongue.
- Saliva Substitutes are available but are of limited value.
- Frozen crushed pineapple juice can be useful.
- See also: the Mouth Care Nursing Fact Sheet.
Topic Code: 4130