Fluoride during Head & Neck Radiation

Last Modified: April 11, 2006

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

In regards to patients undergoing head/neck radiation therapy, which type of fluoride gel therapy is recommended in the gel trays: stannous, sodium, or APF? Thank you for your recommendation.


Kendra Schaefer, DMD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Division of Prosthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Stannous fluoride is considered the best fluoride gel therapy for patients undergoing radiation therapy for head and neck cancer. It is used in toothpastes and dental rinses to protect tooth enamel from bacteria, which lead to tooth decay. A 0.4% stannous fluoride gel is used for the prevention of cavities and/or demineralization of the tooth structure that can result from the dry mouth (xerostomia) caused by radiation.

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