Making oral cancer history: HPV is not the hanky panky virus the media makes it out to be!

. Posted in General

I know; this is a more serious blog topic than we usually tackle but it’s worth talking about. Sadly, chances are we all know someone who’s fought or is fighting against some form of cancer. If we want to be part of making cancer history, building awareness and sharing vital preventative information is the key!

Oral health

At Dental O So Gentle we care about your complete health, including oral health and preventing oral cancer. We not only treat your teeth and gums, but we’re trained to look for abnormalities that could affect your greater health. If we notice something amiss, we’ll work together to find answers, offer support and decide on a solution to keep you fit and well.

The HPV link to cancer

New research has linked certain strands of HPV—human papilloma virus—with cancers of the throat, mouth or cervix. HPV can be transmitted through more than just sexual contact, despite what the media portrays, such as breast milk and during childbirth.

The important thing to realise is that HPV is very, very common and you should never feel embarrassed about it. 90% of students in the US contracted HPV in a recent study. It’s also very common to be a carrier without even knowing it.

HPV increases the risk of oral cancer. But if we know as soon as possible, we’ll be in the best position possible to monitor changes and abnormalities. HPV is a definite known risk factor and independent factor of oral cancer.

Detecting oral cancer

 Oral cancer? HPV? Why are we talking about all of this? Because even if you don’t smoke or drink, oral cancer still afflicts 30% of people. More people die from oral cancers than cervical, liver, kidney, testicular cancers, melanoma and Hodgkinson’s Disease!

That’s why early detection is critical! If you know you have HPV, it’s even more important to maintain your general and oral health to a very high standard.

What should you do?

There are a few things you should do, such as:

  • Avoid extra risk factors like smoking and excessive drinking.
  • Avoid any activities that will increase bacteria and/or inflammation of the body.
  • Look after your oral health by having regular dental examinations and hygiene preventative treatments.

The importance of regular dental treatment

Regular dental examinations and hygiene appointments will reduce your risk by ensuring plaque and infected material is removed from your mouth. This will protect your body from excessive and unnecessary pressure on your all-too-important immune system.

Plus, of course, there’s always the added benefit of having a fresh, happy, and healthy mouth and strong teeth!

Dental O So Gentle’s Role

As part of your regular dental examinations and hygiene appointments at Dental O So Gentle, we’ll perform a screen of your mouth for oral or skin abnormalities.

If you notice anything that worries you, please do not hesitate to make an earlier appointment so that together we can ensure early detection of these nasties and the very best of outcomes for you!

Stay well, keep smiling, and we will see you at your next Dental O So Gentle visit.

By Carmen Jones, Hygienist