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Oral Health and HIVOral Health and HIV
           
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hiv and cavities
Oct 13, 1999

Hi Dr Reznik , I have noticed that since I have been hiv positive I am getting cavities .I brush two times a day each day and my dental habits have not changed . I tested positive in 1996 and never had a cavity in my life . Does somthing in hiv cause cavities and if so is there anything you recomend for fighting cavities with hiv ? Ive been told these cavities must be filled because hiv grows in cavities . Is this true ? Thanks , the former million dollar smile :)

Response from Dr. Reznik

Dear "former million dollar smile":

The problem with dental cavities that you are experiencing has been something we have seen in our patient population for some time. Although I am unaware of any published studies regarding onset of dental cavities and HIV, it is our assumption that this problem is partly due to xerostomia or dry mouth. We have noted that approximately 50% of the patients we see in the Oral Health Center have xerostomia.

Should you have your dental cavities repaired? Yes! The reason being is that we often see rapidly advancing dental caries in our patient population. You want to have the problems addressed while they are small and simple to fix, as opposed to waiting until they are large and potentially more complicated. I have never heard of HIV growing in dental caries and do not believe this to be a factor. Saliva has unique properties which bind and inactivate HIV in many cases.

What can you do to prevent future problems?

First, you need to visit your local dental professional regularly. We have many patients on 3 and 4 month recall visits to prevent future problems. For our patients with xerostomia (dry mouth) and a history of dental caries, we have developed an aggressive plan to prevent new and recurrent cavities.

Every 3 - 4 months we apply a fluoride varnish (Duraphat) to the surfaces of the teeth. Duraphat is a high strength fluoride that not only helps prevent dental cavities, but also reduces sensitivity to hot and cold. In order to maintain the fluoride protection between dental visits, we prescribe Prevident 5000 Plus, a neutral sodium fluoride dentifrice (toothpaste) and have our patients use it nightly before bed. We have had incredible results with the combination of Duraphat, Prevident 5000 Plus and regular dental check-ups.

I hope this information helps and next time I hear from you, I hope you end your email with: "Thanks, the million dollar smile!"

Take care,

DR


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