How HIV/AIDS Affects Dental Health

How HIV/AIDS Affects Dental Health

Human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV, is a virus that attacks a specific T4 cell in the body called CD4. Without treatment, HIV will attack so many CD4 cells that your body will eventually no longer be able to fight off disease and infections on its own. Untreated HIV eventually turns into full-blown AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) the immune system becomes so weak that infection and cancers are able to take over the body which will lead to death.

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Often, the first part of the body to be affected by HIV is the mouth. People with HIV commonly experience the following conditions:

  • Dry mouth
  • Thrush
  • Ulcerative periodontitis
  • Red band gingivitis
  • White lesions on the side of the tongue medically known as oral hairy leukoplakia
  • Karposi’s sarcoma
  • Herpes simplex virus outbreaks
  • Canker sores
  • Mouth ulcers



Though there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, treatments to prevent the virus from progressing known as antiretroviral therapy are available and should be started as soon as possible. In addition to beginning ART therapy, people affected with HIV should also visit their dentist for a checkup and consultation to discuss their diagnosis and treatment plan. Your dentist will work with you and your doctor to help keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

For more information about HIV/AIDS and your dental health, click here. If you have been recently diagnosed with HIV and haven’t scheduled an appointment with a dentist since your diagnosis, request an appointment with Renew Dental here.

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