More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that only affects humans by weakening their immune system and destroying important disease-fighting cells. People with HIV and AIDS are predisposed to periodontal disease because their bodies do not have the resources to fight off infection. That’s bad enough, but what if periodontal disease was contributing to the HIV infection? Periodontal disease has been linked to several other chronic systemic diseases, and now it has also been linked to HIV. Read on as we share facts about HIV and periodontal disease.
Fact #1: HIV patients who also have periodontal disease have higher levels of the HIV virus in their saliva than HIV patients without periodontal disease.
Fact #2: It was discovered during a research study performed at Case Western Reserve University that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease produce byproducts that awaken the sleeping HIV virus in dormant T-cells.
Fact #3: The byproducts, produced by the perio-disease-causing bacteria, stimulate the HIV virus to replicate.
Fact #4: The byproducts are referred to as metabolic small chain fatty acids (SCFA).
Fact #5: Five SCFA byproducts from two of the pathogenic oral bacteria tested– Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) and Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn), both which have been associated with periodontal disease–, activated resting immune T-cells carrying the inactive HIV-1 virus.
Fact #6: Antiviral HIV therapy prevents active HIV cells from replicating, but does not prevent the sleeping virus from awakening in dormant T-cells.
Fact #7: This discovery deems it crucial for HIV patients with periodontal disease to treat the gum disease in its earliest stages.
About Your Reno Dentists
Dr. William Wager, Dr. Brian Evans, and our highly experienced team at Wager Evans Dental are devoted to our patients and their families, and dedicated to providing first-rate dental care in a comfortable, inviting environment. Located in Reno, we proudly welcome residents from Spanish Springs, Sparks, Incline Village, Dayton, Fernley, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation or your next dental appointment, visit our office, or contact us today by calling (775) 829-7700.