Good oral hygiene could reduce risk for oral HPV

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Health officials have suspected that poor oral hygiene may be related to the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the mouth and throat. Although good oral hygiene is in no way a substitute for being vaccinated for HPV, researchers have found a correlation between poor oral hygiene and the prevalence of HPV (as anticipated).

Study authors, Christine Markham and Thanh Cong Bui conducted the study published in Cancer Prevention Research. Markham and Bui gathered data on oral health and HPV infection rates from 3,439 participants involved in the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study found that people who reported poor oral health or a history of gum disease had more than a 50 percent higher prevalence of oral HPV infection than those with good oral health.

But does this mean that oral health can prevent HPV? Certainly keeping a clean mouth is a beneficial practice, and based on the study could mean a reduced risk for HPV. This means brushing, and flossing more thoroughly and regularly. However, it is important to note that the study is not conclusive, and that good oral health is in no way a substitution for vaccinations (which you should get)!

Dr. Ruth Kava commented Good oral habits can help prevent a number of diseases, such as periodontitis and even cardiovascular disease. Now there is evidence that they may also play a role in HPV prevention. While this study is not by any means conclusive, it does support the importance of oral hygiene.