Chewing problems and sore mouth

Cancers and radiation treatment in the head and neck area may result in problems chewing food and/or a sore mouth. Certain chemotherapies may also cause mouth sores and tender gums. Talk with your health care team if you develop mouth sores, there may be some medications or treatment to help ease the discomfort. Choosing softer foods and adding liquids such as sauces or gravies to foods may also help.


  • Eat softer foods that require little chewing and are easy to swallow like mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese and puddings.
  • Use a blender to soften your favorite foods or make nutrient-rich smoothies. Drinking through a straw may help liquids go down easier.
  • Add sauces, gravy or a splash of liquid to food before eating.
  • Avoid dry, course or rough foods such as crackers, nuts and raw vegetables.
  • Cook foods such as vegetables well until they are a soft consistency. Foods such as crackers and bread could be soaked in milk, gravy or a sauce before eating.
  • Avoid very hot or very cold foods as these tend to be irritating to a sore mouth.
  • Acidic foods such as tomatoes and tomato sauce, oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit should be avoided if they irritate your mouth.