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

rom NHANES, for whom data 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. Oral health data included four measures of oral health: self-rating of overall oral health, presence of gum disease, use of mouthwash to treat dental problems within past seven days of the survey, and number of teeth lost. They examined data on age, gender, marital status, marijuana use, cigarette smoking, and oral sex habits, among others, which influence HPV infection.

The researchers found that being male, smoking cigarettes, using marijuana, and oral sex habits increased the likelihood of oral HPV infection. They also found that self-rated overall oral health was an independent risk factor for oral HPV infection, because this association did not change regardless of whether or not the participants smoked or had multiple oral sex partners.

Because HPV needs wounds in the mouth to enter and infect the oral cavity, poor oral health, which may include ulcers, mucosal disruption, or chronic inflammation, may create an entry portal for HPV, said Bui. There is, however, currently not enough evidence to support this, and further research is needed to understand this relationship, he said.

"Although more research is needed to confirm the causal relationship between oral health and oral HPV infection, people may want to maintain good oral health for a variety of health benefits," said Bui. "Oral hygiene is fundamental for oral health, so good oral hygiene practices should become a personal habit."


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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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