Mouth and Throat Care After Surgery
It’s common to experience a sore throat, dry mouth, bad breath and even hoarse voice after surgery, especially if you were intubated for general anesthesia. Anti-nausea drugs that are sometimes given to help prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting are also associated with dry mouth and a sore throat.
Most of these symptoms go away within hours or days after surgery and there are ways to find relief. Make sure you contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse.
Use cough drops with menthol in them to help reduce pain and gargle with saltwater to help relieve soreness or irritation.
For dry mouth, make sure you stay hydrated, use a humidifier and avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine as they can make your mouth even dryer.
If your lips are dry or scaly, scrub them gently with a wet washcloth to remove dead skin. After that, apply lip balm frequently and drink lots of fluids.
When your mouth is dry for a long time like during surgery, bacteria which is normally minimized by saliva, can quickly multiply and cause bad breath. Pain medications and other drugs can dry out the mouth and contribute to bad breath. Brush your teeth thoroughly, gargle with mouthwash and rinse your mouth frequently with water.
Any hoarseness that you experience should show significant improvement in the first few days after surgery. Contact your doctor if your hoarseness doesn’t get better, worsens over the days following surgery or turns into the complete loss of voice.