Oral health and HIV

HUMAN immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV/AIDS can lead to certain dental symptoms.

Symptoms such as bleeding gums, fungal and candida (yeast) infection and herpes sores in the mouth may be among the first signs of HIV/AIDS. However, you should not assume you are infected if you have any of these symptoms, as they occur in the general population. As with any medical issue, the first and most important step is to see your doctor and get tested in order to understand what's really going on.

This virus – a sexually transmitted disease – is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood contact and sexual contact. People with HIV are at special risk for oral health problems. According to the National Institute for Health, you have an increased risk of contracting STDs during oral sex if you have gum disease or any oral wounds.

Mouth issues related to HIV/AIDS

Some of the most common oral problems for people with HIV/AIDS are:

1.Chronic dry mouth that can lead to cavities, difficulty eating and communicating. You may also have trouble chewing and swallowing. Your mouth might also feel sticky or dry and have a burning feeling, and you may have chapped and cracked lips.

Try these things to help with dry mouth:

• Sip water or sugarless drinks often.

• Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.

• Avoid tobacco.

• Avoid alcohol.

• Avoid salty foods.

• Use a humidifier at night.

• Talk to your doctor or dentist about prescribing artificial saliva, which may help keep your mouth moist.

2. Gingivitis

3. Bone loss around the teeth (periodontitis)

4. Canker sores

5. Oral warts

6. Fever blisters

7. Oral candidiasis (thrush),

8. Hairy leukoplakia (a rough, white patch on the tongue).

These oral conditions can be both annoying and painful. They may also lead to other problems. A combination antiretroviral therapy, which is used to treat the HIV condition and restore immune system function, has proven to lessened some of these oral problems.

How can I cope with mouth issues related to HIV/ AIDS?

Talk to your dentist about what treatment is best for you. Most oral problems related to HIV are treatable.

• Visit your dentist for regularly scheduled appointments.

• Brush and floss your teeth twice daily for two minutes.

• Take your HIV medicine on schedule.

• Visit your dentist for regularly scheduled appointments.

Importantly, tell your doctor if your HIV medicine is causing dry mouth. Ask what treatment is best for you. If you do not have a regular dentist, ask your primary care provider or clinic for a referral.

Dr Sharon Robinson's office, The Dental Place Cosmestix Spa is located at Winchester Business Center Shop #5. You can contact us at 876 630 4710 or WhatsApp 876 441 4872. You can also get social with us on Instagram: @Dentalcosmetixspa and Facebook: DentalCosmetixspa

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