While Michael Douglas raised a lot of eyebrows (to say the least), when he claimed that his throat cancer was the result of oral sex, scientists have confirmed that gum disease, and other dental ailments such as mouth and throat sores can act as gateways for the human papillomavirus to enter the body according to a new study released by Christine Markham.
Markham, an associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston looked at 3,349 volunteers participating in a CDC survey regarding their oral health and found that those with poor oral hygiene had a “56% higher rate of HPV in their mouths than those who reported excellent oral health.”
Survey questions included whether the subjects used mouthwash, had gum disease, and how many teeth they may have lost.
“This is just another really good reason to take good care of your teeth and gums,” she stated. “Our findings show that even when you control for known risk factors for oral HPV infections such as smoking and oral sex, poor oral health is an independent risk factor in human papillomavirus infection.”
Note: In addition to regular brushing and flossing, the American Dental Association recommends that everyone should have their teeth cleaned professionally at least twice per year. This involves having your dentist or hygienist perform tooth scaling to remove tartar, tooth polishing, and, if necessary, debridement (the use of ultra sound instruments to break up hardened plaque),. followed by a fluoride treatment.