Magic mouthwash is commonly used for patients getting radiation treatment or chemotherapy, which can cause painful sores in the oral mucosa. These formulas may contain opioids or non-opioid painkillers.
Magic mouthwash can also be used for pharyngitis, canker sores, and cold sores. One common formulation of the mouthwash contains one part each of viscous lidocaine, Maalox and Benadryl.
To use, swish and spit 5 ml every four hours. Another combination contains 12.5 mg Benadryl, 60 ml Maalox, 4 grams Carafate, and xylocaine. Swish, gargle and spit 5-10 ml of this formulation every six hours as needed.
While xylocaine, lidocaine and Carafate all require a prescription; you can make similar solutions with the other over-the-counter components. But don’t trust young children to spit it out.
Instead, just dab a small amount onto the sore with an eyedropper. You can use anything containing mint to soothe mouth pain, especially in children, who might be picky about medicine.
If you’re getting chemotherapy or radiation treatment, keep water by your side when you have dry mouth and take small sips to help you swallow and talk.
Some people have found that sucking on a peppermint, ice chips or a Popsicle during chemo can help keep mouth sores from developing. Frozen yogurt or smoothies may be easier for you to eat if you still end up getting mouth sores.
The Food & Drug Administration recently approved an intravenous drug called palifermin, which will reduce patients’ chances of getting mouth sores.
In an interview, veteran investigator Patrick Stiff, M.D. said, “After 40 years of [chemotherapy and radiation] causing painful mucositis, doctors finally have available a drug that actually decreases the severity and duration of mucositis in patients with hematologic malignancies.”
It might appear silly to be anxious about the odd “cold sore” or “fever blister,” or the somewhat swollen gums that bleed just a bit when you brush, especially when you’re fighting with cancer and its treatment.
However, not taking care of your lips, teeth, gums and mucosal lining of your mouth may mean extreme pain, inability to eat, severe weight loss, longer hospital stays, poorer response to therapy, sepsis, and death due to invasive infection.
In addition to its terrible symptoms, oral mucositis is associated with a number of other adverse health and economic outcomes. The use of magic mouthwash will not cure it, but it will certainly make this uncomfortable and unsightly condition easier to bear.