J Korean Acad Oral Health.  2018 Jun;42(2):34-39. 10.11149/jkaoh.2018.42.2.34.

The relationship between oral health and radiation-induced mucositis among patients with head and neck cancer

  • 1Department of Dentistry, Yeungnam University Medical Center, Korea.
  • 2Department of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University Chilgok Hospital, Daegu, Korea.
  • 3Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Science & Technology, Kyungpook National University, Sangju, Korea. jinha01@naver.com


This study evaluated the relationship between oral hygiene and health status and radiationinduced mucositis among patients with head and neck cancer over an 8-week period.
We recruited 40 patients with head and neck cancer scheduled to receive radiation therapy (RT), and 25 patients were included in the study. Before commencing RT, a dentist examined the patients for plaque, and determined the gingival index and pocket depth. A dental hygienist assessed the patients for radiation-induced mucositis once weekly, for 8 weeks, during RT.
The mean patient age was 60.96 (±8.47) years, and 21 (87.5%) patients were male. Twenty patients (83.3%) had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Patients with cancer located in the head region had more severe mucositis than those with cancer in the neck region, but this was not significant statistically (P=0.053). However, toothbrushing frequency, plaque, gingival index, and pocket depth were not related to radiation-induced mucositis. During RT, the severity of mucositis significantly worsened compared to that at baseline.
Mucositis severity worsened during RT, but this was not related to oral hygiene and health status among patients with head and neck cancer.


Head & neck cancer; Mucositis; Radiotherapy
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