Tuesday, 28 April 2015
HIV and Gum Disease
Patients suffering from HIV may find themselves at a higher risk of gum disease. With HIV, your immune system is compromised, making it harder for your body to fight off infection, as a result your body may be completely unable to fight off the infection causing the gum disease.
There are two types of gum disease that you need to know about. Gingivitis is a mild to moderate type of gum disease that usually causes discomfort, swelling and bleeding when brushing. If untreated or without taking steps to treat the gingivitis, it can become periodontitis.
According to Dr Tariq Drabu, a leading dentist and specialist oral surgeon in the United Kingdom, periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease. It causes pockets to form between the teeth and gums, which is a warm home for unwelcome bacteria to breed. In time, the bacteria eat at the stabilization of the tooth and in turn, if completely ignored, periodontitis can result in tooth loss.
Dr Tariq Drabu also advised that oral infection is often the first sign that the patient has HIV or AIDS. Three quarters of HIV patients will hjave an oral infection at some point during their disease.
HIV has become a manageable disease and when diagnosed, while you may believe your life is over, you can live a normal and long life, if you take the right steps and precautions to ensure that they don’t suffer from unwelcome gum disease and enjoy a healthy life.
With HIV, patients will experience the same symptoms of gingivitis as someone without HIV. This means swollen and red gums, sensitivity and bleeding when brushing. The difference is that a person with HIV may find the symptoms more severe that the healthy person. In some instances HIV patients may suffer with gingivitis as a recurring problem.
The good news is that gum disease sis treatable, even if you have HIV. Your dentist will first schedule you in for a professional dental clean. This removes all the plaque and tar tar from your teeth, leaving them squeaky clean. In the process all the harmful bacteria is also removed.
You will be given instructions on good oral hygiene programmes to do at home. This will include brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Dr Drabu also mentioned that brushing at night is the most important time to brush, right before bed. You will then need to brush a second time at some point throughout the day.
Flossing is also exceptionally important. Though anyone who is suffering from gum disease should floss twice daily. Flossing reaches areas that your toothbrush can’t reach, removing unwelcome plaque and debris.
Anyone suffering from HIV need to be very diligent about their oral health. This includes visiting the dentist for routine dental appointments. Most people will be called in to see their dentist every twelve months. Someone with gum disease or HIV will be called in every few months to enable the dentist to carefully examine the mouth, teeth and gums.
Further, anyone with HIV may be at increased risk of oral cancer. When it comes to oral diseases, the chances of the dentist prescribing antibiotics is increased, helping fight off the infection and reducing the risk.
Dr Tariq Drabu recommends that patients suffering from HIV take the time to find a reputable dentist that they feel comfortable with. It is imperative to be completely honest about your condition, enabling the dentist to put the best treatment plan in place and helping you enjoy good oral heath in the future.