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Poor Oral Health and HPV Infection

Poor Oral Health and HPV Infection

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, can infect the oral cavity and has been associated with oral lesions and some oral and oropharyngeal cancers, according to a recent University of Texas-Houston study, which was published in “Cancer Prevention Research.” The study, which evaluated data from nearly 3,500 adults who were involved the 2009 and 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, revealed that those who had oral HPV infections had a significantly higher risk of poor dental health or gum disease.

 

About 7.5 percent of the study participants tested positive for HPV. Study participants were also asked about other practices, including smoking, alcohol use, marijuana use, and oral sex practices. HPV exposure often occurs as a result of sexual contact. Many HPV subtypes exist and can cause warts, ulcers, and other types of lesions. According to the study, those with oral HPV infections could suffer more oral inflammation, which can increase the infectiousness of the HPV.

 

The results of the study demonstrated what appeared to be a strong link between HPV and poor dental health, but researchers cautioned that more research is needed, since data was self-reported and some study participants may have also had poor dental hygiene habits that led to poor general and dental health.

 

However, the incidence of HPV-related oral cancer continues to increase, and regular oral cancer screenings continue to be critical for early recognition of potential precancerous lesions. Call our office today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning with our team.

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