Oral mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy, with a multifactorial etiology: the direct toxicity of cancer therapy on the normal cells, reduced immunitary defences, presence of bacteria in the oral cavity. The aim of this study is to assess the clinical effectiveness of a preventive protocol of oral mucositis and periodontopathy during antineoplastic chemotherapy.
The design of the study was a longitudinal evaluation of 30 patients undergoing antineoplastic chemotherapy at the out-patients Department of Oncology of the University of Sassari. The study lasted one year and was carried out at the Dentistry Department of the University of Sassari. The patients were motivated to home oral hygiene, underwent professional oral hygiene and clorexidine rinses were prescribed. Visible plaque index (VPI) and gingival bleeding index (GBI) were taken from each patient as periodontal indices, and the state of the mucosa was evaluated according to the WHO recommendations (1975). The control group was composed by 33 patients.
The values of the bleeding and plaque indices were considerably diminished between the first and the last visit, in nearly all the patients; the incidence of oral mucositis in the treated group was 20%, while in the control group it was 66%. 5-fluoruracil was always involved.
According to the results observed, the conclusion is drawn that the professional and home oral hygiene and the use of clorexidine, can reduce the incidence of oral mucositis as a side effect of antineoplastic chemotherapy.