You have had a bone marrow transplant. It will take 6 months or more for your blood counts and immune system to recover fully. During this time, your risk for infections, bleeding, and skin problems is higher.
Your body is still weak. It may take up to a year to feel like you did before your bone marrow transplant. It is likely that you will get tired very easily. You will also likely have a poor appetite.
If you received bone marrow from someone else, you may develop signs of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Ask your doctor or nurse to tell you what signs of GVHD you should watch for.
Brush your teeth and gums 2 to 3 times a day for 2 to 3 minutes each time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Let your toothbrush air dry between brushings.
Use a toothpaste with fluoride.
Floss gently one time a day.
Rinse your mouth 4 times a day with a salt-and-baking-soda solution (mix one half teaspoon of salt and one half teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces or 1 cup of water). Your doctor may prescribe a mouth rinse.
Do not use mouth rinses with alcohol in them.
Use your regular lip care products to keep your lips from drying and cracking. Tell your doctor if you develop new mouth sores or pain.
Chew sugarless gums or suck on sugar-free popsicles or sugar-free hard candies. Avoid mouth rinses that have alcohol in them. Do not eat foods and drinks that have a lot of sugar in them.
Take care of your dentures, braces, or other dental products.
If you wear dentures, put them in only when you are eating. Do this for the first 3 to 4 weeks after your transplant. Do not wear them at other times during the first 3 to 4 weeks.
Brush your dentures 2 times a day. Rinse them well.
Soak your dentures in an antibacterial solution (a solution to kill germs) when you are not wearing them.
You need to take care not to get infections for up to 1 year or more after your transplant.
Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.