Prevalence and factors associated with dental caries in patients attending an HIV care clinic in Uganda: A cross sectional study

Dunstan Kalanzi, Harriet Mayanja-Kizza, Damalie Nakanjako, Catherine Lutalo Mwesigwa, Ronald Ssenyonga, Bennett T. Amaechi

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Background: Chronic Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is associated with reduced saliva flow rate due to infiltration of HIV and proliferation of CD8 lymphocytes in salivary glands. It is unclear whether HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) increase caries risk. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with dental caries in HIV infected adults attending the Mulago Immune Suppression Syndrome (ISS) clinic in Uganda. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among HIV infected persons. Dental examinations were performed by two calibrated dentists using the WHO Radke's caries classification criteria and reported using the decayed (D), missing (M), filled (F), teeth (DMFT) index. The prevalence and factors associated with dental caries was examined through linear regression analyses. Results: Overall, 748 participants (females = 491, 65.6%) with a mean age of 39 ± 9.4 years were included in the final analysis; of whom 83.7% had caries (DMFT> 0), with a significantly (p < 0.05) higher prevalence among females 86.6% than males 78.2%. The mean DMFT was 5.9 ± 5.5, with statistically significant differences based on gender (males 4.9 ± 4.8 and females 6.3 ± 5.9, p < 0.05) and duration on ART (< 2 years 4.8 ± 4.4, > 2 years but < 5 years 5.7 ± 5.5, > 5 years 6.6 ± 6.0 p < 0.05). The majority (67.2%) of participants reported brushing their teeth twice or more a day, and sugar intake was not associated with dental caries. Conclusion: Caries prevalence is high among HIV infected adults under care. Duration of ART was associated with increased risk and severity of caries. Therefore, we recommend integration of dental care in HIV treatment programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number159
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 19 2019



  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Dental caries
  • Human immunodeficiency virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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