7 common oral health problems associated with HIV:
• Sore and bleeding gums – These are common and often the first symptoms of people who have HIV and AIDS. But bleeding gums doesn’t mean you have AIDS. The best way to get an HIV/AIDS diagnosis is through a blood test.
• Candidiasis (fungal yeast infection or thrush) – Yeast infections show up as creamy or bumpy patches. They’re often described as looking like cottage cheese and can turn up anywhere in the mouth. An antifungal mouthwash or in more severe cases, a prescription medication, will help clear it up.
• Warts – Small pink or white bumps located on the inside of the mouth. They’re not usually painful and can be removed by freezing or surgically by a doctor.
• Ulcers (red sores) – These are usually found on the inside of the mouth, on the tongue, cheeks and lips. Also known as canker sores, ulcers can be treated with an over-the-counter cream or a prescription mouthwash.
• Herpes (a viral infection) – Herpes usually shows up as red sores on the outside of the lips or on the roof of the mouth. Prescription medication will reduce the frequency and severity of the sores.
• Leukoplakia – White patches on the side of the tongue or inside the cheeks or lower lip. The patches can appear thick and hair-like. Prescription medication will reduce the symptoms.
• Dry mouth – a lack of saliva in the mouth, which can lead to tooth decay, chapped, dry lips and other problems. Saliva helps control the spread of bacteria. Drinking lots of water, chewing sugar-free gum and avoiding alcohol can help with the occurrence of dry mouth.
With World AIDS Day just three days away, it is important to bring attention to this epidemic and the effects it can have on your mouth.