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Poor oral health linked to cancer-causing oral HPV infection
Date:8/21/2013

PHILADELPHIA Poor oral health, including gum disease and dental problems, was found to be associated with oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which causes about 40 percent to 80 percent of oropharyngeal cancers, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"Poor oral health is a new independent risk factor for oral HPV infection and, to our knowledge, this is the first study to examine this association," said Thanh Cong Bui, Dr.P.H., postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. "The good news is, this risk factor is modifiable by maintaining good oral hygiene and good oral health, one can prevent HPV infection and subsequent HPV-related cancers."

The researchers found that among the study participants, those who reported poor oral health had a 56 percent higher prevalence of oral HPV infection, and those who had gum disease and dental problems had a 51 percent and 28 percent higher prevalence of oral HPV infection, respectively. In addition, the researchers were able to associate oral HPV infections with number of teeth lost.

Similar to genital HPV infection, oral HPV infection can be of two kinds: infection with low-risk HPV types that do not cause cancer, but can cause a variety of benign tumors or warts in the oral cavity, and infection with high-risk HPV types that can cause oropharyngeal cancers.

Bui, Christine Markham, Ph.D., and colleagues used data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This survey consisted of a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 people recruited each year, located in counties across the United States.

The researchers identified 3,439 participants aged 30 to 69 years f
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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
215-446-7109
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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