HIV AIDS and Oral HealthLiving with HIV/AIDS isnít the death sentence it used to be, and patients can expect to live long if they are on anti retro viral medication. However, these patients have a weakened immune system that can impact the entire body, including the mouth.
It's not just the weaker immune system, but also the medicines have to be taken that impact the oral health of people who suffer from HIV/AIDS.
Dental care for HIV/AIDS patients
Every doctor that you visit must know the medication that you are on, even those that have been prescribed by other doctors. When you visit a dentist, tell him what medicines your general physician has prescribed for you. This helps all the doctors balance the medication in a manner that prevents drug reactions. Also, this ensures that the medicines are not too strong for your present health condition.
A patient suffering from HIV or AIDS must regularly brush and floss. He must also constantly check his mouth for any problem like sores or bleeding. Discuss problems with the dentist as soon as possible and follow his instructions carefully. Your dentist will also tell you about other symptoms that you may begin to experience as a result of your condition.
One of the common dental conditions that can creep in with a weaker immune system is thrush. That is very common in children with HIV or AIDS because most of their medicines have a high amount of sugar. These sugars must be cleaned out of the childís mouth. If tooth decay develops, then the child may find it harder to eat a normal diet, compounding his condition further. Medical rinses can prove beneficial.
If you feel a lot of dryness in your mouth, then your dentist can prescribe a suitable saliva substitute, fluoride rinse or gel. A HIV or AIDS patient experiences this condition mainly because of medicines that make the mouth dry. Saliva cleans bacteria, acids, and sugar and food remnants from the mouth. It also guards against decay, gingivitis and thrush. Absence of saliva increases your risk of dental decay. Also watch out for dental conditions such as lymphadenopathy, Kaposi's sarcoma, swollen salivary glands, Herpes simplex virus sores, Human papilloma virus warts and canker sores.
A HIV or AIDS patient may need to have regular blood tests. Inform your dentist of the results of these tests. This helps your dentist give you appropriate medicines. Most AIDS and HIV cases may not require antibiotics before treatment, but a dentist could ask you to use these before a dental procedure depending on your Neutrophil count. Thatís why it's so important that you give him your recent blood test results.
A person with AIDS can have his blood platelet level drop to low levels. If the count is above 50,000, then is no problem with performing routine dental procedures like extractions. But if the count drops to below 50,000, then it may become necessary to have a dentist, who is trained in handling persons with serious health conditions, perform your procedure.
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