Diet & nutrition

Before treatment
Before starting chemo- or radiotherapy it is important to prepare for treatment by eating the right sort of foods. Slender people need to take extra care to increase their weight before treatment starts and high-energy snacks between meals will help with this. Sugary or acidic foods should be avoided to protect against tooth decay, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.

During treatment
Oral mucositis (OM) can make it painful and unpleasant to eat. However, during treatment it is extremely important to drink plenty of fluid to keep your mouth moist and to eat as much as the pain will allow. Dietary supplements are also available if the pain of oral mucositis makes it too difficult to eat enough. Gentle tooth brushing after each meal and snack will help to keep infection away.

Stay away from: Stock up on: Cooking tips:

Rough or crunchy food

Dry cereals, toast, popcorn, plain rice, raw vegetables, hard fruit and fried food

Cooked or milk soaked cereal, pancakes, French toast, pasta, food cooked in or served in sauce and soft fruit like bananas. To soften vegetables add butter or margarine

Cutting up food into small pieces will mean less chewing is needed. Blending hard food will also make it easier to swallow

Dry food

Baked or fried meat, biscuits, crackers, bread, buns and dry cakes

Soft casseroles, egg, ground meat, meat served with gravy, mashed potato, biscuits dipped in drinks, crackers and bread soaked in soup, jelly and custard poured over cakes

Cooking or simmering dry food will soften it making it easier to eat


Beer, wine and spirits

Milk, milkshakes, non-citrus juices and non-fizzy soft drinks. Adding water to strong drinks can make them more drinkable

Use a straw to drink

Sharp or acidic food

Citrus fruit and tomatoes. Including food, drinks and sauces containing citrus fruit or tomatoes

Canned peaches and pears, apple sauce, soft fruit like bananas and sauces containing milk, yoghurt or cheese

Eating using a small spoon helps to reduce the amount of food in each mouthful

Very hot food and drinks

Hot drinks or soups and those containing caffeine

Milkshakes and melted ice cream

Cool soups and drinks to a manageable temperature

Highly seasoned food

Curry, chilli seasoned, peppery and salty foods

Garlic, herb and onion seasoning and cream or cheese sauces


Learn more about Caphosol

Always speak to your doctor or nurse if you are worried about oral mucositis.

Download a managing oral mucositis patient factsheet for your own information and why not print out a nurse factsheet to give to your nurse.

For more information about Caphosol® visit