Problems during chemo

Does chemo cause you to have bad breath?
i sometimes get a strange taste in my mouth, it reminds me of when i was at school and was in the chemistry dept. i brush my teeth twice a day or sometimes more and it doesn’t help. i can’t go to a dentist as i don’t have one.

if its any consolation my breath is rancid at the moment so i think its nornal?

Hi Vodka yes I had this when I was going through chemo. I have read of others having it as well. Do you have a sort of metalic taste?
I found that a mouthwash helped but beware of being too enthusiastic about mouth hygiene it led to me getting ulcers until I learnt to be a lot gentler.
How are you getting on with the chemo? I hope that you getting through ok, I promise it does come to an end!

Hi Margaret

It feels/tastes like i’ve sucked on a rusty iron bar. I thought that maybe the chemicals used in chemo had went into my mouth and thats what i was tasting.
As for the chemo - i’m not too bad, i’m sick for the first couple of days after. tiredness comes and goes and i’m managing to deal with the constipation now.
I get very tearful from time to time but i’m not sure if thats the chemo or due to the dx or maybe i’m feeling sorry for myself. mother-in-law still hasn’t made contact since my dx and that was in march. there again maybe that’s not such a bad thing because she is a wicked old witch.

How are you, what stage are you at?

Ann x

first cycle of FEC was horrid mouth wise, but I believe this is 1 set of symptoms I’ve got under control, at least for now.

Got a soft toothbrush as per the top tips thread… no more bleeding or sore gums.
Got the dentyl mouthwash, really can see the stuff in the sink, urghhh but it works and is alcohol free so doesn’t sting or dry the mouth out (which FEC does).

In the second week I was getting really bad ulcers and cold sores. I stopped brushing as hard and started using the mouthwash after snacks, this really helped and
I got some aloe vera toothpaste which was much much much gentler than the nasty white stuff in a tubw that I now consider equivalent to brushing teeth with scouring powder. The one I use is called Aloe Dent, I also found another mouthwash with aloe vera in it also by aloe dent and alternate this with the dentyl stuff. I think it may be better actually. It’s certainly refreshing and gentle on the mouth. The ulcers were gone within a week and haven’t come back this time. Mouth feels better than it has in years with this stuff. Aloe Dent have a loyal customer in me… OH was having gum trouble after we both quit smoking, often causes gums to bleed as your gums finally have a decent blood supply after years of neglect or something like that but whatever it’s common and the aloe dent stuff has really helped clear that up to.

The final problem of cold sores was solved simply with a lip balm called L-Lysine, because it contains L-Lysine. Apparenty herpes simplex (the virus that causes cold sores) can’t live with Lysine so the sores heal and they don’t come back while you’re using it. It’s lovely stuff that makes my lips really soft and shiny.

So while it’s true that chemo sucks I have at least cured myself of cold sores permanently (nice lip balm, not giving that up) and I will have brilliant oral hygeine after they’ve stopped filling me up with nasty stuff that dries all the mucous membranes every 3 weeks. Got to be some slight benefits right (other than the hopefully killing cancer cells one that’s obvious :slight_smile:

I don’t know if any of this would help with metallic mouth but I heard the ice lollies trick does, ie sucking on them when they give you the drugs.

Hope this helps.


Hi Vodka

Im sure i read on this site when i was having chemo the pinapple juice is very good for the taste in your mouth and is kind to the ulcers

Good Luck with all your treatment

Lynne x

Yes, My oh says my breath smells bad. I feel like I have a bird cage for a mouth. i will try some of your ideas Angie. I have a soft tooth brush and always brush my teeth at least twice a day. And I am on Xeloda ! Not fec
Glad I am not the only one with dragon breath.


hi rachy … I was thinking about what you wrote on the other thread about bad breath and then i thought of a good one liner for you … I’ll put it on the one liner thread …

love FB xx

Thanks for al your advice /tips i’ll give them a go : )

One thing I found helped was ice lollies, not only can you suck them to get a nicer taste but they partly numb your mouth as well

Louise x

I tried the lollies today but they melted. oops 3 ice packs next time. I’m going to take frozen chunks of pineapple or mango instead though as really not in a sickly sweet kids lollies place

I took Calipos cos I thought they would be ok but they part melted - the nurse seemed suprised when I got them out. I drank loads too.
hope it helped - I’ll see tomorrow :-/

I would second Angie’s remarks about Aloe Dent - it’s really good but despite that I had ulcers and a cold sore after first FEC. So second time around, after reading some of the threads on here, I sent hubby to buy ice lollies from hospital shop, which we both ate during the ‘C’ part - I think that is the drug that leads to the metallic taste, ulcers, etc - this time around metallic taste less noticeable and no ulcers or cold sores, so far… I’m now 13 days after 2nd FEC so think we’ll be having lollies again next time! My nurse agreed that the lollies (or anything frozen) could help.

Heya Angela.

Spoke to the chemo nurse about this and they use to give out ice chips, but had to get rid of machine because of bacterial risk (paranoi gone mad) but she said the Cyclophosphamide was the main culprit too but that the F, E and C all hit the mucous membranes to a point…

sadly my lollies melted and weren’t much use but I’m going with industrial cool packs and frozen mango chunks next time. Or maybe a bag of ice, some syrup and a Mr Frostie… games with my chemo… fun.

hiya all, I had the taste like the drugs had gone in my mouth this time - wasnt as bad for others, i sucked sherbet lemon during it which I think helped

I have a stash of mango sorbet in my freezer…lovely for getting rid of metallic taste and soothing mouth generally.

I dilute the mouthwashes a little, as can be rather too strong if mouth already sensitive, I’ve found.

Ann xx

I swear by drinking nearly 2 litres of iced white tea with fresh ginger & manuka honey during the chemo IV. I didn’t the first time and my mouth was horrible by the time I got home and stayed that way for nearly 2 weeks. For the 4 sessions since I have taken in two big sports bottles of the stuff (with non-bacterial, home-made ice cubes floating therein) and have had much reduced symptoms - though even then Tax mouth is not pleasant. I suck Bafucin as a prophylactic for sore mouth/ulcers & once again, have had no trouble since the first round, when I didn’t think of it and used mouthwash - not a good idea for me, even diluted.

As my mouth is in good shape I can season my food with loads of home-made chilli-garlic sauce, which I love & which I can just about taste. Though it would be better for my waistline if I went off food, of course…

M-L xx


You are a genius. Ok so I’m on FEC but it sounds like a great mix for during the dose. You don’t just freeze small bottles of it to take and defrost them a bit on the way though, Too cold?

What with the cold saline drip and the ice in the mouth I’ll be shivering next time. Was a bit last time. Will be in down parka next time… it’s JULY.

if i never took the ice lolly that you get during chemo will i get mouth ulsers or is there a chance i can get them even after taking an ice lolly?

God do you get ice lollys where you are??? wish I did we get a cup of tea and a sarnie that about it