Light therapy is an effective way to manage painful mouth sores, known as oral mucositis, resulting from radiation therapy and chemotherapy for head and neck cancers, according to an international group of experts.

The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer and the International Society of Oral Oncology recommend a type of low-dose laser light therapy known as photobiomodulation. The experts reviewed more than 30 studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this method for preventing mouth sores and relieving pain.

A related study showed that two types of mouthwash, containing either doxepin (an antidepressant) or a combination of diphenhydramine (an allergy medication), lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and an antacid, significantly reduced mucositis pain in people undergoing head and neck radiation therapy.