How does HIV impact your teeth’s oral health?

HIV and patient's oral health

Patients that have HIV or Hepatitis C tend to have their oral health suffer more than most.

Did you know that patients with HIV or Hepatitis C are more susceptible to oral health problems like missing or decayed teeth?  Many patients that suffer from this disease are also far less likely to want to or have the same access to basic preventative oral health care.

In this blog, Dr. Jessani talks about the growing problem and what he is hoping to implement in Southwestern Ontario.  To learn more about this developing problem and the patient’s declining dental health along with the population’s access to basic preventative oral health care keep reading the rest of our blog.

The latest research on oral health and people with HIV:

Dr. Abbas Jessani the Assistant Professor of Restorative Dentistry at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry was seeking to improve the oral health of persons living with HIV and their access to oral health care.  He believes that “People living with HIV are a neglected and underserved group in Canada and internationally, especially in addressing their basic unmet oral health needs.”

Although many oral health conditions associated with HIV have declined due to antiretroviral medications many people still face barriers to receiving basic oral health care services.

In a recent study that was published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Dr. Abbas Jessani examined the rates of teeth of patients living with HIV for decayed, missing, or filled teeth.

The studies patient analysis:

Dr. Jessani examined 2000 patient charts of which 6% of the patients were HIV positive.  The analysis revealed that people living with HIV were more likely to be living with missing teeth or decayed teeth (DMFT conditions) than those without HIV.  Dr. Jessani said that “people with HIV are twice as likely to get dental conditions, including decayed and/or extracted teeth, than those without HIV.”

There was also a strong connection between alcohol & substance use or other medical conditions like mental health disorders among those with HIV that led to DMFT conditions.

His research also seeks to focus on Southwestern Ontario focusing on London Ontario where he is from.  The research is centered around psychosocial disparities and access to preventative health care.

Unmet oral health needs in London Ontario:

Dr. Jessani said “In 2015, there was an HIV outbreak in London, particularly within intravenous drug users. We know that we have this population that is living with HIV, and we don’t know how they are doing in terms of their oral health quality of life.”

Dr. Jessani wants to focus on those living with HIV and how we can reach out to them so they feel comfortable and in a safe space.  He stresses the importance with his dental students of providing trauma-informed care to these groups so we can address their unmet oral health needs.

At Sbenati Dentistry we strive to adopt a similar multifaceted approach to patient care because we also believe that oral health is critical for our patient’s overall health.

We want to make all of our patients feel comfortable and at home when they come to see us no matter what they’re struggling with.  If you have any questions about how we’re striving to exceed all of our patient’s oral health needs feel free to ask us questions.