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Oral Health and Infectious Diseases

Oral health is a concern for everyone. Infections and abnormalities in the mouth can lead to other infections, series conditions and even death because of the relationships between a healthy mouth and other bodily functions as well as the mouth’s proximity to the brain. According to the American Dental Association, “Oral health is essential to general health and well-being at every stage of life. A healthy mouth enables not only nutrition of the physical body, but also enhances social interaction and promotes self-esteem and feelings of well-being. The mouth serves as a “window” to the rest of the body, providing signals of general health disorders. For example, mouth lesions may be the first signs of HIV infection, aphthous ulcers are occasionally a manifestation of Coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease, pale and bleeding gums can be a marker for blood disorders, bone loss in the lower jaw can be an early indicator of skeletal osteoporosis, and changes in tooth appearance can indicate bulimia or anorexia.”

For individuals living with HIV, Hepatitis C and other potentially life-threatening conditions, good oral health is a necessity. In addition to observations already shared, early signs of some AIDS-defining illnesses often can be found in the mouth. Early examination can lead to treatment.

Ask the MAO Dental Clinic providers to review common concerns and healthy oral health practices with you. You may wish to explore additional information available from the following sources:

American Dental Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)