According to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, bad dental health (i.e. gum disease, tooth loss, etc.) has been linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a STD transmitted via oral sex. HPV is spread through sexual contact and is usually associated with cervical cancer in women.
Both the number of sexual partners a person has throughout their lifetime, along with their age at sexual debut, has been associated with sexually-transmitted HPV. As the majority of HPV cases are seen in younger people, there has been a dramatic fall in the age of the average mouth cancer sufferer.
The More The Not Merrier
The report also found those who said they had poor dental health were twice as likely to have had multiple HPV infections. Of more concern, though, is the link between HPV and mouth cancer with experts in the UK suggesting that one in five mouth cancer cases will likely be a result of the HPV infection.
"The research suggests keeping this infection at bay is relatively simple", says Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation. "The HPV infection is very common and is a major reason mouth cancer cases have soared over the last 30 years. Our knowledge of HPV remains relatively low, which suggests there is not enough awareness of the risks we take with multiple sexual partners."
Who Was Surveyed
The authors of the study identified 3,439 people aged 30-69 years from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for whom data was available on oral health and the presence or absence of 19 low-risk HPV types and 18 high-risk HPV types in the oral cavity were available.