HIV Sores in Mouth: Common Oral Health Problems

Individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at particular risk for oral health problems. These oral problems can be annoying, painful, and can lead to other issues. Some of the most common HIV sores in the mouth are chronic dry mouth, aphthous ulcers, gum disease, hairy leukoplakia, and dental caries. However, these mouth sores can also be obtained by ordinary people. Visit your dentist once you lump gums, painful gums, and injured gums that bleed.


What is a Mouth Sore?

Mouth sores, also known as ulcers, defines as localized abnormalities inside the mouth that can emerge from various causes. Mouth sores can occur on any of the soft tissues of your mouth, including your tongue, gums, lips, cheeks, and floor and roof of your mouth. You can even grow mouth sores on your throat, the tube leading to your stomach. They may appear as ulcers or white or red patches in the mouth. Bleeding may sometimes happen if ulceration is extreme. Bite injuries to the tongue or within of the cheek are a typical reason for mouth sores.

Oral health problems like mouth sores are a well-known symptom in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). They usually happen because the virus weakens your immune system, so your body has tough time-fighting infections that cause them. As indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 40–50 percent of individuals living with HIV have oral conditions that can cause complexities in the mouth, including sores.

Although HIV sores in the mouth are not life-threatening, they can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life. These sores in the mouth can be painful and make eating, swallowing, and taking medications more difficult. But whatever the reason, there’s likely an effective treatment.


Types of HIV Sores in Mouth

Oral herpes

Oral herpes can cause awful red sores on the lips, tongue, gums, and within of the cheeks. These sores are generally known as fever blisters or cold sores, and they result from contamination with the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Additional manifestations of oral herpes may include:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • swollen or difficult lymph nodes
  • a burning or tingling sensation close to the lesions

Anybody can get oral herpes, but HIV rises the danger for opportunistic infections like HSV. Individuals with untreated HIV may encounter more drawn out and extreme outbreaks of mouth blisters.

She is checking her sore in the mouth.HSV is a typical and profoundly contagious infection. It is conceivable to contract oral herpes through direct contact with the saliva or mouth sores of somebody with the condition. Transmission bound to happen during an outbreak of sores. Individuals can diminish their danger of contracting HSV by not kissing or sharing foods to someone with oral herpes, particularly during an outbreak. Moreover, HSV can also cause genital herpes, which an individual can communicate during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Doctors may recommend oral antiviral medications, for example, valacyclovir or acyclovir for herpes treatment.


Human papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are pervasive among individuals living with HIV. There is a study that stated that 48 percent of females living with HIV had an HPV infection compared with 28 percent of females without HIV.

HPV can cause small white bumps, or warts, nearby the mouth and lips. These white bumps are usually not awful, but rather they may bleed if an individual pick at them. These infections can also cause genital warts, which are extremely transmittable. An individual can get HPV during oral sex if the disease enters the blood circulation through a tear or cut in the mouth.

The individuals who have HPV do not experience any side effects. If that side effects do happen, they can contain:

  • Warts
  • excruciating sores inside the mouth
  • trouble swallowing
  • swollen tonsils
  • a sore throat

The following can help people to decrease the risk of oral HPV include:

  • getting the HPV antibody
  • restricting the number of sexual partners
  • using a condom during sex
  • quitting smoking and other tobacco items


Remedy for HPV is still unknown. HPV warts with topical medications are difficult to treat. So, specialists may require to eliminate them by a surgical procedure.


Aphthous Ulcers

Aphthous ulcers, otherwise called canker sores, are awful ulcers that can grow on the soft tissue inside the mouth. Aphthous ulcers are commonly little and either gray or white.

Doctors do not entirely comprehend what causes aphthous ulcers, however different variables, such as mouth injuries, vitamin deficiencies, stress, and weakened immune capacity, may assume a function in their turn of events. Furthermore, aphthous ulcers are not transmissible.

The following can help people to diminish their risk of aphthous ulcers:

  • keeping away from and managing stress
  • avoiding spicy or acidic foods and drinks
  • eating carefully to abstain from injuring the mouth
  • eating a balanced and healthful diet


Aphthous ulcers are treatable. For minor aphthous ulcers, washing the mouth with an over-the-counter mouthwash can diminish inflammation and keep the ulcers clean. In extreme cases of aphthous ulcers, a dentist may recommend specific treatment to limit torment and promote healing.


Gum disease

Gum disease is a contamination that results in painful, swollen gums. In severe instances, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. It can likewise be an indication of inflammation in different parts of the body.

Additional manifestations of gum disease may include:

  • swollen, red, or tender gums
  • bleeding gums
  • loose or sensitive teeth
  • pain when eating


However, individual can avoid and treat gum disease with great oral hygiene practices, which involve:

  • brush your teeth two times a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • floss your teeth every day
  • use mouthwash
  • have regular dental checkups

For severe gum disease, a dental specialist may recommend antimicrobial mouthwash, anti-toxin gels, or oral antibiotics.


Oral thrush

Oral thrush, otherwise called oral candidiasis, is a fungal contamination of the mouth. The contamination presents as yellow or white patches on the roof of the mouth, tongue, or within the cheeks.

Oral thrush can get by anyone; however, babies, older people, and individuals with a weakened immune system have a higher risk.

Additional manifestations of oral thrush may include:

  • loss of taste
  • dry mouth
  • a burning sensation that may cause difficulty swallowing


Oral thrush is treatable. People can use antifungal mouthwash and medications to treat oral thrush.


Dry mouth

She maintains having a regular dental checkup.HIV can make the salivary organs swell, which can lead to diminished spit production and dry mouth. Saliva protects the gums and teeth from plaque and helps fight off contamination. Dry mouth can likewise be a symptom of HIV medications.

Additional manifestations of dry mouth may include:

  • inconvenience chewing and swallowing dry foods
  • trouble speaking
  • a painful tongue
  • ulcers on the tongue
  • inflammation of the tongue
  • awful breath


Individuals can cure dry mouth by keeping their mouth clean and remaining hydrated. If dry mouth continues, an individual may need to consider looking for advice from a healthcare professional. Dry mouth can prompt other complications, like gum disease.


Kaposi’s sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma, or KS, is a kind of cancer that makes purple or blue bumps develop under the skin in the nose, mouth, and anus.

An additional manifestation of Kaposi’s sarcoma may include:

  • trouble eating or swallowing
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • an unexplained cough
  • abdominal pain
  • chest pain
  • swelling of the extremities

Individuals living with HIV have a much greater danger of having KS than individuals without HIV. In any case, KS is turning out to be more uncommon since effective HIV treatments are accessible.

The treatment for individuals with KS relies upon the number of tumors, area, and state of the immune system. Treatment choices include:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • antiretroviral therapy


General Prevention Tips

Visiting a dental health provider for regular checkups is an excellent technique to avoid mouth sores. Dentists can help individuals manage manifestations of existing mouth sores and avoid future sores from growing.

Some different ways to avoid mouth sores include:

  • taking HIV medications consistently
  • practising proper oral hygiene
  • staying hydrated
  • quitting smoking
  • avoiding spicy and acidic foods and drinks
  • eating a balanced and healthful diet


It is wise to see a doctor for mouth sores that:

  • exceptionally excruciating
  • keep going for more than 1–2 weeks
  • make it hard to take prescriptions
  • affect an individual’s capacity to talk, eat, or swallow
  • happen alongside side effects


Oral health problems are common issues of HIV, and they have several possible causes. Individuals can manage most types of oral health problems, like mouth sore, with good oral hygiene. It is also essential to visit your dentist for regular checkups. Dental specialists can help manage signs of oral health infections and prevent frequent mouth sores as they have the equipent and tools to identify any issues in your oral cavity.


Author: Claudia

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