Gum disease produces an acid that may push HIV-infected people to develop full-blown AIDS, a Japanese study says.
Butyric acid hinders an enzyme called HDAC that prevents the proliferation of HIV, Kuniyasu Ochiai, chair of the microbiology department at Nihon University in Tokyo, told Agence France Presse.
"Serious periodontal disease could lead to the development (of AIDS) among HIV-positive people ... although the probability largely depends on individual physical strength," Ochiai said.
Previous studies have linked gum disease to heart disease and diabetes, but this is the first to find that gum disease activates HIV, Ochiai told AFP.
The study is scheduled to appear in the March issue of the Journal of Immunology.