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HIV and Dental Health
Jul 20, 2011

Dr. Henry,

Does HIV make people more likely to have dental problems? I made it to age 22 without a single cavity. But, I now seem to get cavities all the time. I also chipped my front tooth from eating bacon, which was very expensive to fix. Granted, I went through most of my 20's without going to the dentist much--no insurance at that time and just busy with being in my 20's.

I brush twice a day and floss. I've noticed many of my friends brush their teeth for only about 30 seconds once a day and don't have these problems. Perhaps it is just genetics and would have been the same if I were neg. But, I have been curious whether HIV plays a role. I thought I was doing the right thing by drinking diet sodas, but I now hear even those are bad. But, all those neg friends I mentioned drink plenty of regular and diet sodas and don't seem to have the same issues. And as I said, they don't brush well and rarely go to the dentist. Just makes me curious.

Thanks!

Response from Dr. Henry

HIV infection can lead to increased gum problems which can lead to more tooth/dental problems. Generally good control of HIV with antiretrovirals and attention to good dental care will control/minimize dental problems. There are some patients with bone/calcium disorders (either related to HIV and not) that may need to be checked for by your HIV specialist and/or dentist. KH



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