Two very common medical conditions have been making headlines lately, but not enough of us are having the conversation. Oral sex can potentially cause oral cancer. It is time we start having this conversation and passing the information along!
A frequently diagnosed sexually transmitted infection is the human papillomavirus, otherwise known as HPV. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can affect the genitals and most cases will go undetected for a very long time. Your body has an amazing ability to fight off these types of viruses and often times they just go away. The problem is, some HPV can cause permanent damage over the course of years and have no early symptoms.
Contrary to popular belief, oral sex isn’t “safe sex”. HPV can also infect the mouth and throat. Sometimes it’s just a wart, and sometimes it turns into cancer. According to the CDC, “about 7% of people have oral HPV. But only 1% of people have the type of oral HPV that is found in oropharyngeal cancers.”
Since there is no test approved to screen for and prevent HPV related oral cancers, your best option is to be proactive. Minimize your risk by using protective barriers during sex and see your doctor if you are suspicious of any lesions. Tobacco use and alcohol abuse are linked to an increase in risk for oral cancer as well. The good news is this: the survival rates for patients that find and treat these oral cancers early are extremely high.
Dental professionals are often the people who find oral cancer lesions so it’s very important that you keep up with those routine examinations. We are proud to offer oral cancers screening to our patients at Daxon and Grundset Dentistry. A five-minute screening could save your life!