How STDs Affect Oral Health

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Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

September 23, 2022

Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that a person could get through oral, vaginal or anal sexual activities. The organisms that cause STDs are able to infect the epithelial cells of the mouth as easily as they can infect the same types of tissues around the genitals. An STD in the mouth can be intensely painful. When lesions develop in a place that is visible, it can also be embarrassing. Oral health care professionals are an important part of the team of people who you can depend on if an STD is affecting your oral health.

HPV Infections and the Mouth

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common STD in the United States. An average of 14 million HPV infections take place every year. There are many strains of HPV, and several of them can affect your mouth and throat. HPV causes uncomfortable warts and precancerous and cancerous lesions to develop. Oral surgery is needed in order to remove those lesions and warts. In some cases, an oral surgery may include removing a significant amount of soft tissue. A cosmetic procedure performed by an oral surgeon could correct problems caused by the tissue loss. Some people may experience tooth loss from a severe HPV infection. Dental implants are the restoration of choice when an STD has caused tooth loss.

Herpes and Oral Health

Human herpes simplex virus type 1 is another common STD. It causes lesions in and around the mouth. The lesions usually last for seven to 10 days. People with a herpes infection may have flares of the disease, which cause several sores to develop simultaneously in different parts of the mouth. The lesions are painful, and they make it difficult to open your mouth, smile, chew or swallow. Rarely, the oral lesions caused by herpes could become cancerous. If the lesions leave a scar, a cosmetic procedure might be performed to correct the skin around your mouth and lips.

Syphilis and the Mouth

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is fully curable with antibiotics. If it is not treated, it can lead to lesions around the lips, mouth, cheeks and gum tissue. The lesions could become large and painful. Surgery is needed to remove them, leading to the loss of soft and hard tissue. Dental implants can be used to replace a missing tooth or teeth caused by surgery for syphilis lesions.

Yeast Infections and Immune Dysfunction

Oral candidiasis, or oral thrush, is a yeast infection of the mouth. Most healthy adults will never have an oral yeast infection. An overgrowth of yeast in the mouth is a sign of immune system dysfunction. In people with HIV infection, oral thrush is an AIDS-defining condition. When the body cannot keep the yeast in check, it means that the immune system is not able to do its job. An oral yeast infection causes painful swallowing. It could even block your throat. The yeast overgrowth may decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth, leading to dry mouth and an increased risk of cavities.

Regular visits to the dentist are essential to anyone with HIV, AIDS or other immune system disorders. Your oral surgeon at the Good Samaritan Dental Implant Institute is a key part of the team of professionals who you can trust to help you care for your oral and overall health. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Hello there, great choice moving towards the personal dental health care you desire!

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