You have had a bone marrow transplant. It will take 6 months or more for your blood counts and immune system to fully recover. During this time, your risk of infection, 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 transplant. You will likely get tired very easily. You may also 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 once 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 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.
Do not eat foods and drinks that have a lot of sugar in them. Chew sugarless gums or suck on sugar-free popsicles or sugar-free hard candies.
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.
To kill germs, soak your dentures in an antibacterial solution when you are not wearing them.
Take care not to get infections for up to 1 year or more after your transplant.
Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.