No Saliva - HELP!

Lafalot Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
I am writing for a friend who does not have internet access. She had cancer of the tongue and as a result of the radiation her salivary glands no longer function. She has a hard time finding things to eat that don't "taste like sand". Does anyone else out there have this problem and have any suggestions or recipes?

Thank you!!!



  • ginger2
    ginger2 Member Posts: 1
    My husband also had mouth cancer, and , says food tastes like vasoline. He is getting some saliva back, now 6 weeks after his last radiation treatrment. And now and then food tastes like it looks. It must be a very slow process of healing, but maybe yur friend will have the same results. Keeping a sense of humor helps, I tell him if his food tastes good or not now. He does most of the cooking and I do most of the eating. Probably not real fair!!He keeps a bottle of water with him at all times to sip on. There are products the dr can give her to help the saliva, but our dr. doesnt think they work any better than water.
  • favShelley
    favShelley Member Posts: 1
    Hi Lisa, I hope your friend is doing okay. I went through chemo and radiation in my mouth also and my mouth was very dry all the time. Her saliva will return it will take some time but it will return. She has to drink water constantly as I did. The taste of food will also come back. Personally I am not able to eat solid food, I only drink Jevity, soups, puddings, tea, coffee. I am also looking for help in the recipe department on things that I can make that I can basically put in my mouth and swallow as I cannot chew anything. I have teeth but only for cosmetic reasons. Tell your friend to just wait it out and she'll be spitting in no time. Take care. Shelley Robert-Favron
  • rkenneth
    rkenneth Member Posts: 4
    It's been more than a year since radiation therapy permanetly zapped my salivary glands. My overall comfort level is pretty good now. No saliva, but more mucous, so dry mouth is managable. When things were roughest, I carried a water bottle and used Biotene products a lot. (Biotene makes tooth gel, mouth rince and gel moistener. Most drugstores stock some or all.) As for eating, I needed lots of calories, so my doctor recommended Nutren, avaliable from pharmacies by request. I called it "soylent beige," but it tasted pretty good. In fact, it tasted a lot better than Ensure and the other "shakes." If your friend heals like I did, her taste buds will return gradually. I still can't eat my favorite spicy foods, but have rediscovered many wonderful dishes with more subtile falvors. It's hard to eat when food tastes like sand, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  • tgoins
    tgoins Member Posts: 7
    My doctor prescribed Salegen, it has helped me with the production of some saliva although its not like it was it does seem to help somewhat. I know there are other prescriptions out there that do aid in saliva production, ask your ENT about them. As for recipes, I tend to use alot of cream based products high calorie yes, but alot of these have good flavor, helps with the sandy taste.....fettuchni sauces, garlic sauces, herb sauces....they tend to be less traumatic on the tongue. Biotene mouthwash, toothpaste and saliva substitute also has helped with the dryness.