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you are > Dental Health Articles > Research suggests a link between oral care and HPV

Research suggests a link between oral care and HPV
Updated: 9/19/2013 10:59:57 AM

People know about the importance of oral care, and about many of the common effects of poor mouth maintenance but recent research suggests that inadequate dental care is a risk factor for oral human papillomavirus.

Many people know about the importance of oral care and the common effects of poor mouth maintenance. However, recent research suggests that inadequate dental care is a risk factor for oral human papillomavirus. 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, citing a publication from Cancer Prevention Research, posted an article about a study that patients with evidence of gum and dental ailments had a 51 percent and 28 percent higher predominance of HPV infection than people without dental issues, respectively. HPV causes many kinds of cancers, including cervical, vaginal and oral. Oral cancer is a wide-ranging term that comprises cancers of the lips, tongue, cheek, sinuses, throat, hard and soft palate and floor of the mouth.

"The virus need some kind of entryway," Christine Markham, deputy director of University of Texas Prevention Research Center and associate professor at the School of Public Health, told the source. "If you have poor oral health, that may set up ulcers [or other conditions that serve as] an entry portal for the virus to get into the epithelium and body."

Dental Care
With risks such as HPV and other diseases, it is important to know how to properly care for teeth and gums. 

Flossing twice a day is ideal, but usually just at night is enough. Besides being something people usually try to avoid, it is also often done improperly. A common mistake is only moving the floss in a saw-like motion, while the most effective way to move it is up and down the side of the tooth.

Brushing twice a day is still recommended, but you want to make sure you have the proper equipment. Electric and battery-operated toothbrushes are known to reduce the risks of plaque buildup and gingivitis, a low form of gum disease, according to Mayo Clinic.

Scheduling routine check-ups and cleanings with your dentist will keep you informed about things you may not normally notice. Apart from using top-of-the-line equipment to give you a thorough clean, a dentist or hygienist can gauge your tooth decay and also identify gum inflammation or bone loss.

If you happen to be concerned about dental costs, there are other options for those who do not have access to dental insurance plans. Websites like can help you customize a discount dental plan, which differs from insurance in that there are no annual caps or limits. 

© 2013 Brafton Inc.

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