Zellies and chemotherapy

Dear Dr. Ellie,

Hi. I am undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkins and am concerned about the effects of chemo on my teeth. I’ve never had a cavity and am 44 years old! Which of your products do you recommend to protect my teeth, and how many daily should I take? Can you respond ASAP, since I want to protect my teeth and gums asap?



Hi MG,

I would be happy to talk with you on the phone if this would be any help to you.

I would advise you to start on the Complete Mouth Care System as soon as possible.

This is like taking your teeth to the “gym” the system will strengthen your teeth in advance and build them up as strong as possible.

There may come a time, during your treatment, when the idea of using the entire system is too overwhelming or not possible. This is when you need to know the order of importance of the products and the benefits they provide.

Xylitol will always be useful to you protecting your teeth and keeping them clean, if you cannot brush or rinse. It is good to try and have a little xylitol five or six short times during the day especially after drinks or meals. Remember that the military in Iraq use xylitol chewing gum to protect their teeth when they cannot clean them.

The question will be, which kind of xylitol can you enjoy and/or tolerate? Some people find their taste changes and the idea of fruit or mint may become more/less palatable.

The kids gum has been popular with some people during treatments. This is sweeter and can easily be chewed for a minute or two after medications, or when the mouth is dry. The fruit and mint gum is also good but people have different tastes.

As for the rinses: ACT will give your teeth the most protection to keep your teeth healthy during treatment. Closys is also well tolerated so you may be able to use Closys first and then rinse with ACT after brushing your teeth.

Listerine may seem too strong at some time then you can just put a drop in water and use this to “wash” toothpaste off your teeth. BUT please remember to use Listerine EVERY day to disinfect your toothbrush this will be more important than ever.


If you have more questions or if a conversation would help, please let me know. I would be delighted to offer my best suggestions and help you keep your oral health in shape during this time.


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