HIV/AIDS has affected millions of people worldwide. It is clearly the most devastating illness with respect to loss of human life. Our mouth plays a key role in the HIV epidemic. It is the first clinical sign of the disease.
The disease not only affects individual lives but also leads to social and economic loss. Oral complaints are usually the most common for those suffering from the illness. In the US, more than 1.2 million people have HIV. Globally 1 in 8 patient is not even aware that they have the HIV.
American dental association recommends that HIV patients should care about their oral health. However, Such Patients are more susceptible to infections like dental infection, which influences the overall wellness. This World Aids Day let’s learn more about oral problems and treatment for HIV positive Patients.
How does HIV affect mouth?
Mouth is the first part of the body, which can be easily infected with the virus. As HIV infection weakens the immune system, it can lead to a toothache and tooth loss.
People suffering from HIV can experience following problems:
- Dry Mouth
- Kaposi’s Sarcoma
- Ulcerative Periodontitis
- White lesions on the sides of the tongue
- Canker sores
Dental and mouth problems related to HIV can be painful. This causes trouble in chewing or swallowing. It can also result in malnutrition. As you may have trouble eating and absorbing enough essential nutrients. Even the altered digestive system can lead to decreased absorption of HIV drug treatment.
Precautions for HIV patients
Most of the oral problems associated with HIV can be treated. As a result, if you take proper care of your mouth you will certainly reduce other complications. The best ways to prevent your oral issues are:
- Visit your dentist regularly for scheduled appointments.
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly.
- Take HIV medicine as recommended by your doctor.
- Do not hesitate to inform your doctor regarding any oral condition. Request them to share the treatment details.
General tips to avoid dental problems
- Stay hydrated. Sip water at regular intervals or sugarless drinks.
- Chew sugarless gum or eat sugarless candy.
- Stop tobacco consumption.
- Avoid the intake of alcohol.
- Avoid salty foods.
- Use a humidifier at night.