How Is Dental Care Related to HIV?

Texas has the fourth-highest number of HIV-infected cases in the United States. AIDS and HIV cases in Houston are the highest in Texas. Meanwhile, dental health professionals have a moral and legal duty to assist HIV-infected individuals with dental care. 

A sample of 500 dentists in Arlington, Texas, was issued a 41-item questionnaire. The demographics, attitudes, knowledge and behavior sections of the questionnaire were all included. Dental professionals who have dealt with HIV+ patients reported that about a third of the dentists had done so. And when it comes to HIV transmission, six out of ten dentists had no idea that breast milk might do the trick. So, suppose you or someone you know is living with HIV in Texas. In that case, the ADA suggests HIV dental care in Arlington, Tx. The reason for this is that people with HIV are more vulnerable to infections, such as oral infections, which can hurt their general health.

HIV/AIDS: What Is It?

HIV targets CD4 cells, a subset of T lymphocytes. Defending the body from infection requires a vital component of the immune system: T cells. And HIV can decimate a person’s CD4 cells to the point where they can no longer fend off infections and sickness. So, after HIV infection, the immune system becomes so compromised that several diseases and cancer can take hold, resulting in AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

How Can HIV Be Transmitted?

A compromised needle or syringe and sexual intercourse with an infected person are the two primary means HIV is passed from one person to another in the United States. In the United States, over 1.2 million people live with HIV; one in eight of these persons is uninformed of their status with the disease.

How Is HIV Identified?

An individual with HIV cannot be diagnosed only based on their symptoms. Tests are the only method to find out if you have HIV. Moreover, the sooner you get tested for HIV, the better your chances of avoiding infection. Anyone active with a new partner or several partners should regularly get tested for diseases such as HIV.

HIV’s Impact on the Mouth

When you become infected with HIV, the first place it takes hold maybe your mouth. As a result of HIV infection weakening your immune system, you are more vulnerable to diseases and other health issues. Pain and loss of teeth can result from this in the mouth. As such, several oral problems may occur in people with HIV, including the following:

  • Dry throat or mouth
  • Thrush
  • The sides of the tongue are covered in white lesions (oral hairy leukoplakia)
  • Red band gingivitis
  • Sores 
  • Mouth ulcers

HIV-related dental and mouth issues can be excruciatingly painful, making it difficult to chew or swallow properly. You may be unable to take your HIV treatment due to this. And if you don’t get enough nutrients from your food, you may become malnourished. Furthermore, HIV medication may not be absorbed properly if your digestive system is damaged.

What Is the Best Way to Deal With HIV-Related Dental and Mouth Issues?

The vast majority of HIV-related oral health issues are curable. So, talk to your dentist to follow the best course of action. Besides, you can avoid these problems by doing the following:

  • Be sure to visit the dentist regularly.
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth for two minutes and at least twice a day is recommended.
  • Ensure that you take your HIV medication as prescribed.
  • Dry mouth from HIV medication should be reported to your doctor. Ask about the best treatment for you.
  • Ask for a referral for HIV dental care in Arlington, Tx.

Opportunistic infections in the mouth of an HIV-infected person can be life-threatening in and of their own right. However, they are frequently the first outward sign of HIV contamination. Hence, HIV-positive people and those more likely to contract the disease should have frequent dental checkups. As a result of a few policy and accessibility changes, people with HIV are more likely to receive the dental treatment they need.

Read More 5 Signs That It Is Time To Visit An Orthodontist.