Objective: To compare oral health parameters in perinatally HIV-infected (PHIV) and perinatally HIV-exposed but uninfected youth (PHEU).
Methods: In a cross-sectional substudy within the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study, participants were examined for number of decayed teeth (DT), Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth (DMFT), oral mucosal disease, and periodontal disease (PD). Covariates for oral health parameters were examined using zero-inflated negative binomial regression and ordinal logistic regression models.
Results: Eleven sites enrolled 209 PHIV and 126 PHEU. Higher DT scores were observed in participants who were PHIV [Adjusted Mean Ratio (aMR) = 1.7 (95% CI 1.2-2.5)], female [aMR = 1.4 (1.0-1.9)], had no source of regular dental care [aMR = 2.3 (1.5-3.4)], and had a high frequency of meals/snacks [≥5 /day vs 0-3, aMR = 1.9 (1.1-3.1)] and juice/soda [≥5 /day vs 0-3, aMR = 1.6 (1.1-2.4)]. Higher DMFT scores were observed in participants who were older [≥19, aMR = 1.9 (1.2-2.9)], had biological parent as caregiver [aMR = 1.2 (1.0-1.3)], had a high frequency of juice/soda [≥5 /day vs 0-3, aMR = 1.4 (1.1-1.7)] and a low saliva flow rate [mL/min, aMR = 0.8 per unit higher (0.6-1.0)]. Eighty percent had PD; no differences were seen by HIV status using the patient-based classifications of health, gingivitis or mild, moderate, or severe periodontitis. No associations were observed of CD4 count and viral load with oral health outcomes after adjustment.
Conclusions: Oral health was poor in PHIV and PHEU youth. This was dismaying since most HIV infected children in the U.S. are carefully followed at medical health care clinics. This data underscore the need for regular dental care. As PHIV youth were at higher risk for cavities, it will be important to better understand this relationship in order to develop targeted interventions.