A recent study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research suggests that infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) could be linked to poor oral health, including gum disease. In the study, researchers from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston analyzed data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This survey was conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics: a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 3, 439 participants in the data: all between the ages of 30 and 69 years. Participants were chosen based on the following criteria: 1. available oral health data, and 2. the presence or absence of HPV in the oral cavity. Findings of the study showed that the participants who reported bad oral health had a 56% higher chance of developing an oral HPV infection compared with those who had good oral health. Those with gum disease showed a 51% higher risk of an oral HPV infection.
The study did not directly link HPV to poor oral health, yet it does suggest that there may be a link between these two factors. Clearly, more research is needed on this important topic. However, it does confirm the importance of maintaing good oral hygiene and oral health. Brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing at least once daily can go a long way in preventing periodontal disease and safeguarding your long-term dental health. This study also highlights the importance of visiting the dentist regularly (once every six months) for routine dental cleanings and checkups.
HPV is currently the leading cause of throat cancer. If you would like to get more information about how to improve your oral health and reduce your chances of developing an oral HPV infection, talk to your dentist today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health