Treatment of "Dry Mouth" Caused by Radiation Therapy

In this day of innovative medical management, successful treatment of cancer patients has saved lives. However, with some cases there can be serious side effects.  For example, in treating head and neck cancer patients with radiation and chemotherapy, xerostomia or dry mouth can result.


On each side of the mouth salivary duct from the parotid gland empties near to second upper molar. It secretes serous fluid. There are also sublingual and sub- maxillary glands that secrete mucous fluid.

The parotid gland is easily affected by radiation and this results in thick sticky fluid with scarce saliva. The patient has difficulty chewing food and the tongue seems to stick to the roof of the mouth. This results in the patient nor enjoying his food and may end up losing weight.

One of the best ways of dealing with this problem is acupuncture. It may take 2 to 6 treatments. The treatment is usually repeated within 24 hours of the first treatment for best results. A special protocol and how to use these needles in certain sequence that results in flow of saliva.


Article written by Dr. Indarigt Singh, MD

Dr. Singh's focus is healthy living and acupuncture helps with managing chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression.  He has been board certified in Family Medicine and received extensive training in acupuncture at UCLA and at the Academy of Pain Management for Acupuncture. He incorporates auricular acupuncture, body acupuncture and scalp acupuncture and the results are complementary to western medical practice.  A well and balanced person is in a dynamic state of physical, emotional, and spiritual harmony.

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