Chicken pox in childhood could affect oral health laterFebruary 19th, 2009 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Feb 19 (IANS) Chicken pox, that itchy red rash caused by varicella zoster virus, infected nearly four million people every year until a vaccine in 1995 slashed its incidence by 83 percent.
If you had chicken pox, the varicella zoster virus may still be present in your body and could lead to serious and irreversible oral health problems such as herpes-type lesions and severe bone damage to the jaws.
The symptoms are pain, swelling or infection of the gums, or their poor healing, loosening of teeth, heaviness in the jaw, and the like.
Varicella zoster can lie dormant for decades and if activated can lead to herpes zoster (HZ), more commonly referred to as shingles, according to a study.
The virus affects nearly one million Americans each year, 50 percent of all new cases of herpes zoster occur in individuals over the age of 60.
“Herpes zoster manifests as painful blisters that erupt along the sensory nerves usually on one side of the body or face,” according to study co-author MA Pogrel. “It can be a debilitating disease that can lead to osteonecrosis of the jaw and vision loss in addition to a prolonged painful syndrome.”
Osteonecrosis is a condition in which bone in the lower or upper jaw becomes exposed. As a result, the jaw bone suffers severe damage and/or death, eventually leading to tooth loss.
However, Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokeswoman Laura Murcko, noted that “your dentist can help detect early signs of osteonecrosis of the jaw by checking for loose teeth, detached gums as well as taking dental x-rays.”
Murcko, a dentist, recommended that patients consume 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, add vitamin D to their diet, exercise and weight train, quit smoking and decrease caffeine and alcohol intake, said an AGD release.
These results appeared in General Dentistry, AGD’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
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