Does the HCV infection affect my oral health?

Q. Does the HCV infection affect my oral health?
A. There are an estimated 200,000 people in the UK who suffer from the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and there has been recent evidence that sufferers are twice as likely to develop mouth cancer.

It is important for those sufferers to be extra vigilant in checking for any changes in their mouth. The more people are aware of the associated risks of the disease, the more cases that can be caught early and the more lives will be saved.

Early diagnosis is the key.

By looking out for major signs and symptoms, everyone can be certain they’re improving their chances. Look for unusual swellings or lumps in not only the mouth but in the head and neck area, too. Also look for any white or red patches, or ulcers in the mouth that don’t heal after three weeks.

As well as the risk of mouth cancer, HCV can also be linked to other oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva helps to fight bacteria in the mouth due to its antibacterial properties and without it there is an increased chance of infection entering the body.

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