Home Health Four Ways An HIV Positive Diagnosis Affects Your Oral Health

Four Ways An HIV Positive Diagnosis Affects Your Oral Health

HIV severely compromises your immune system and often presents as poor oral health. Regular visits to your dentist and a good treatment plan might relieve these four symptoms. Bear in mind that it is possible to have some of these conditions and not be HIV positive.

Oral Lesions

These are sores inside and around your mouth and are the result of a poor immune system. There are different kinds of oral lesions or sores. Raised, white bumps might indicate human papillomavirus (HPV). If your sores or lesions are more like bumps, your dentist may prescribe a topical ointment or a toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate. These kinds of lesions are sometimes called canker sores.


Thrush is a fungal infection that looks like white patches. They may appear at the corners of the lips, on the tongue or the roof of the mouth. Thrush might cause an itchy or sore feeling, loss of taste or difficulty with eating or swallowing anything. It can be treated with antifungal medication.

Hairy Leukoplakia

Caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), this condition is quite common in patients who are HIV Positive and indicates a severely compromised immune system. Hairy Leukoplakia looks like a furry white patch on your tongue that cannot be removed with a brush or any oral hygiene tool. Usually, a dentist can diagnose it with a physical exam.

Hairy Leukoplakia isn’t dangerous and can be prevented by brushing and flossing regularly as well as adhering to a healthy lifestyle and practicing safe sex. If you develop it, make sure that you revisit your HIV treatment plan with your doctor to boost your immunity.

Gum Disease

An HIV Positive diagnosis makes you susceptible to a very specific type of gum disease called linear gingival erythema (LGE). This presents itself as redness along the gum line. If not caught on time, the gums will become more spongy and eventually, the bones that support your teeth will decay, causing possible tooth loss.

A microbial mouthwash and regular, good dental hygiene practices might combat LGE in its initial stage. Another course of treatment includes scaling or root planing, where tartar is scraped of the teeth by a dental instrument. Make sure your dentist knows about your HIV treatment plan before undergoing scaling since in a few cases, the procedure introduces bacteria into the bloodstream, which might cause complications.

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