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DENTAL HEALTH AND SEX

Oral Sex Increases the Risk of Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections Among Women

     This report states that women who have recurrent yeast infections may be infected by oral sex, not by re-infection by their male partners.  The risk of developing multiple episodes of itching and burning from yeast was higher in women who receive oral sex.   Receiving oral sex had an association with increased risk of recurrent yeast infections at a three times higher rate.  Thus oral sex may increase a woman's risk of developing symptoms if she is carrying Candida and her immune system interacts with her partner's saliva, resulting in a yeast infection.  Journal of Women's Health 12/03, Woman Dentist Journal pg 16 2/04

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Oral sex linked to mouth cancer: Swedish study

Certain cases of mouth cancer appear to be caused by a virus that can be contracted during oral sex.

People who contract a high-risk variety of the human papilloma virus, HPV, during oral sex are more likely to fall ill with mouth cancer, according to a study conducted at the Malmo University Faculty of Odontology in southern Sweden.
"You should avoid having oral sex," dentist and researcher Kerstin Rosenquist, who headed the study, told Swedish news agency TT. HPV is a wart virus that causes many cervical cancers, including endometrial cancer (in the uterus).Comparing 132 patients with mouth cancer with a control group of 320 healthy people, Rosenquist found that 36 percent of the cancer patients were carriers of HPV while only one percent of the control group had the virus.
The main factors that contribute to mouth cancer, most commonly contracted by middle aged and older men, are smoking and drinking alcohol. "But in recent years the illness has been on the rise among young individuals and we don't know why. But one could speculate that this virus (HPV) is one of the factors," Rosenquist said.

Her findings confirm other international studies in recent years. 1
1/18/05

Something to think about: Human Papilloma Virus has been linked to 30-40% of oral cancers,  I did a quick Google search which turned up several credible sources backing up the information, mostly linking HPV strains 16 & 18 to pharyngeal/tonsillar cancers.  Yet, HPV vaccine is only covered by health insurance for 9 year old girls.  The vaccine is a series of 3 injections each costing $150 (here in California).  So the cost to a non 9-year-old-female would be $450. 
 
Patients with pharyngeal & tonsillar warts may be reticent about removing them. (high risks of bleeding)  The vaccine isn't a cure for existing warts, but as time goes on and all people get vaccinated then maybe fewer oral cancers will arise.  And maybe (sexual practices being what they are) the case for removing existing oral warts becomes more compelling, Dr. KB Dental Drugs Forum 8/06
 

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Oral Sex and Oral Cancer 

With recent reports in the press linking oral cancer and oral sex, Dr Vinod K Joshi gives the low-down on everything you ever wanted to know about oral sex and mouth cancer, but were too afraid to ask. 

 In the past decade, Scotland has seen an almost 50 percent increase in oral cancer among under- 45s, and in the last 40 years a fourfold increase in younger patients suffering from it. Now it is thought that there may be an uncomfortable explanation to account for this. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection, and has long been known to cause cervical cancers. It had long been suspected, that HPV could cause oral cancers. HPV is one of the most common virus groups in the world to affect the skin and mucosal areas of the body. 

Genital HPV infections are common. Genital warts can be sexually transmitted. The warts tend to be infective, but can be treated.  The problem is that HPV is often clinically undetectable. At any one time, around a third of 25-year-old women in the US are infected. It is thought that only 10 percent of infections involve cancer-causing strains, and that 95 percent of women will get rid of the infection within a year. Most HPV infections of this type are very common, harmless, non cancerous and easily treatable. The higher risk HPV-16 viruses are also spread by sexual activity. 

Once in the body, the virus persists and moves to other mucosal sites via self-inoculation from the genitalia or oro-genital contact between sexual partners. Mothers harbouring the virus can transmit the virus to their babies during birth. HPV-16 virus is detected in the buccal cells of just under 50 per cent of their asymptomatic pre- pubertal children. So avoiding initial exposure to the virus is impossible. HPV is the most prevalent STD in the US at present. It is estimated that well over one third of youngsters are infected. 

Men are at greater risk than women of developing oral cancer. This is thought to be related to significant differences in male sexual behaviour. Men with oral cancer self-reported a lower age for their first sexual intercourse, an increased number of sexual partners, and a history of genital warts. In a high proportion of women with oral cancer, the same HPV type was also found in their cervical smears. `Fifty to 60 percent of US college-aged women have HPV, but only 10 percent have lesions.' Abstinence, Condom use, and sensible behaviour, is considered to be protective against HPV infection.  HPV16 is the strain seen most commonly in cervical cancer, was found in most of the oral cancers too. 

It was more common amongst people who reported having more than one sexual partner or who practiced oral sex, than in cancer patients who smoked or chewed tobacco. The people with oral cancers containing the HPV16 strain were three times as likely to report having had oral sex as those whose tumour did not contain HPV16. Patients with mouth cancer were also three times as likely to have antibodies against HPV compared to the healthy controls. For cancers of the back of the mouth, the link was even stronger. It is thought that the transmission of the virus is facilitated by oral sex. 

`Oh, Behave!' `Watch your Mouth!' and if you can't, `Wear (flavoured?) Condoms!' About the author Dr Dr Vinod K Joshi BDS DRDRCS FDSRCPS is Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry Oncology Clinic, St Luke's Hospital, Bradford and Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield.   Back

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Have You Talked to Your Dentist About Sex?

     Kiss of Death?

     It was once thought French-kissing and oral sex were safe if your partner had AIDS.  A recent study from UCLA and Drew University exposed mouth tissue taken from HIV negative people to the virus and found that the virus was actually able to infect the tissue.  AIDS virus can be transferred through kissing when people have bleeding gums which is commonly found in people with gum disease.  Please remember about 75 % of the US population has gum disease i.e. bleeding gums. The CDC recommends using condoms or dental dams during oral sex.
Elle pg 84 June 2003

     Among the more dangerous myths floating around these days is that oral sex is a disease-free alternative to intercourse. The fact is, not only can oral-genital contact lead to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) it can, depending on the disease, be harder to spot and more difficult to treat.

     Your dentist may recognize oral symptoms of an STD and instruct you to see a physician for diagnosis.   According to a study 60 percent of surveyed college students do not equate oral-genital contact with sex. And more than 55 percent of teen-agers admitted to engaging in oral sexual acts. Ninety percent of those who contracted the oral component of an STD-such as gonorrhea-may be asymptomatic (meaning they do not show outward signs of being sick). The remaining 10 percent exhibit symptoms such as gum swelling and discharge, and some bleeding. 

Treatment may include:

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an oral antibiotic

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an intramuscular (IM) antibiotic 

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an oral antibiotic rinse. 

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advise  to seek medical care because the patient probably has the STD elsewhere 

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encouragement to practice safer sex by using a condom or a latex barrier.

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Oral sex can lead to oral tumors, according to a US study published in the New Scientist. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection that has been known to cause cervical cancers. However, studies have suggested it also plays a role in other cancers, including oral cancer.  Out of those, 1,670 people had oral cancer, the people with oral cancers containing the HPV16 strain the most commonly seen strain in cervical cancer were three times as likely to report having had oral sex . We have known for some time that there is a small but significant group of people with oral cancer whose disease cannot be blamed on decades of smoking and drinking, because they're too young. In this group there must be another factor, and HPV and oral sex seems to be one likely explanation.  3/04

Source:
AGD, ADA Journal.

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February 06, 2008

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