HIV And Mouth Problems

People who are HIV-positive could start to have issues with the mouth. This can range from dry mouth to painful sores. Here are some common mouth problems associated with HIV.

Dry Mouth

HIV can affect the salivary glands and cause the glands to become swollen. When the glands become swollen, they stop producing saliva. This can leave the mouth feeling extremely dry. Since a person needs saliva to help chew and swallow, this can make eating difficult. Without saliva, a person has an increased risk of too much acid in their mouth. This can create a breeding ground for infection and tooth decay. If you are having issues with dry mouth, try chewing sugarless gum and talk to your dentist about other options for long term management. 


Another mouth problem HIV-positive patients may encounter is recurring ulcers on the gums, tongue, and throat. Ulcers are usually very painful and make eating and drinking difficult. Some people may even refuse to eat or drink because of the pain. If you are suffering from mouth ulcers, you can try using mouthwash or over-the-counter steroid gels to help heal them. If that does not work, you may need to go to your dentist and get a prescription for something stronger.


Thrush is another mouth complication that HIV can cause. The body naturally produces the fungus that creates thrush. Thrush happens when the body is producing too much of the fungus, usually due to immune system not functioning correctly. Thick, white patches form inside the mouth and on the tongue. Sometimes cracking and bleeding can occur. You may feel a burning sensation in your mouth. To get the fungus back under control, you can try anti-fungal lozenges and syrups. Really bad cases may need to be seen by a doctor for a stronger anti-fungal.  


Herpes of the mouth is probably best known as fever blisters, which are sores that form on outside of the mouth from a viral infection. However, herpes can also cause painful, red sores on the roof of the mouth. They can take weeks to heal and are contagious while you have them. The best course of action is being put on a prescription medication that will reduce the amount of time it takes for them to heal and reduce the number of outbreaks you have.

HIV comes with a whole slew of health problems, including issues with your mouth. Luckily, the medication HIV patients are put on to help slow the virus also helps with a lot of these issues. If you are HIV-positive and are suffering with problems with your mouth, consult a dentist, such as Empire Dental.

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