Dental health and hepatitis

Posted 31 August, 2020
Other News
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs - Hepatitis and Liver Disease
2 min read
Posted 17 February, 2021

Australia’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines is now being rolled out in stages across the country.…

Read Article
Help fight viral hepatitis: Call for stories
2 min read
Posted 19 January, 2021

Read Article
Five common liver cancer myths
2 min read
Posted 12 January, 2021

In honour of World Cancer Day on the 4th of February, Hepatitis Queensland is busting…

Read Article

Seeing a dentist is one of those ‘grown up’ things that people are either fine with, or is something that creates huge levels of anxiety. This anxiety can be made much worse for someone who has hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Many people who lived through the 1980’s and 1990’s would remember when everyone was asked to ‘tick a box’ on the patient history form at a dentist if they were living with hep B, hep C or HIV. Ticking ‘yes’ to any of these saw you being moved to the last appointment of the day to ‘protect’ everyone else from contacting a blood borne virus, and in turn saw the community living with hepatitis being significantly stigmatised against.

A lot of advocacy has happened since then. Many dental practices will still ask this same question but it is being asked for a very different reason. It is a form discrimination to ask someone if they have hepatitis and it is entirely up to the individual if they choose to tell.

Living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C may see you being faced with complex liver health problems, which need specialised care. This is no different for your dental health and having hepatitis can also impact on your dental health.

People who are living with hepatitis B and C are more prone to tooth decay, altered taste, oral thrush, reduced saliva production, and difficulty with dentures. This can be caused from having actually having hepatitis, or in some cases from long periods of drug use or being prescribed methadone. So it can be important for the dentist to know about your medical history to get a good understanding of what else might be impacting on the health of your teeth and mouth.

Also some of the medications that may be prescribed during or after a dental procedure may cause harm if you are living with advanced liver disease. This is a serious concern and a dentist would need to know your hepatitis B or C status to make the best decision for you.

It is still a tough decision to disclose your status. Do your research and seek out a dentist that has a good reputation in your community. Asking a few questions of the dentist or the dental practise may make you feel much for comfortable and help reduce your anxiety about disclosing. Everyone deserves a nice pearly white smile and a healthy mouth.

If you have any questions please contact the Hepatitis Queensland InfoLine on 1800 437 222.

Latest News
View Resource
View Resource
View Resource

This website may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed on.