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Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus

Japanese study points to good oral health as a means to prevent spread of HIV

FRIDAY, April 3, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Good dental health may help prevent AIDS, say Japanese researchers.

The link, they say, could be periodontal, or gum, disease.

The researchers found that periodontitis-causing P. gingivalis bacteria can trigger a pathway that causes reactivation of latent HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. P. gingivalis is among the most widely existent bacteria worldwide.

The findings were to be presented April 3 in Miami at a meeting of the International & American Association for Dental Research.

The results suggest that periodontal disease might contribute to the systemic dissemination of HIV and emphasize the essential role of maintaining oral hygiene and controlling oral diseases to help prevent AIDS, according to background information in a news release from the association.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about HIV/AIDS.

SOURCE: International & American Association for Dental Research, news release, April 3, 2009
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