Oral health an ‘independent risk factor’

A recently released article from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston describes the risk factor of oral human papillomavirus (HPV).  Larrondo Dentistry and staff suggest that you read the following article and should you have questions or concerns, contact Dr. Jorge E. Larrondo to determine if you are at risk of HPV infection.


“Poor oral health is a new *independent risk factor* for oral HPV infection”

Infection with oral human papillomavirus (HPV) – a main cause of throat cancer – could be linked to poor oral health, including gum disease, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston analyzed data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was carried out by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some 3,439 participants were included in the data, aged between 30 and 69 years. Participants were chosen based on their available oral health data and the presence or absence of 19 low-risk HPV types, as well as 18 high-risk HPV types in the oral cavity.

The oral health data included the following four measures:

  • Self-rating of overall oral health
  • Presence of gum disease
  • Use of mouthwash to treat dental problems (within past 7 days of survey)
  • The number of teeth lost.

Factors that may influence HPV infection were also analyzed, including age, gender, marital status, marijuana use, cigarette smoking and oral sex habits.

Oral health an ‘independent risk factor’

The findings showed that the participants who reported bad oral health had a 56% higher risk of developing oral HPV infection compared with those who had good oral health.

Those with gum disease showed a 51% higher risk of oral HPV infection, while those with dental problems had a 28% higher risk. The researchers were also able to link oral HPV infections to the number of teeth lost.

Additionally, the findings showed that males who smoked cigarettes, used marijuana and participated in oral sex regularly had increased risks of oral HPV infection.

They note that self-rated overall oral health was an independent risk factor for the infection, as the link did not vary regardless of whether the participant smoked or had multiple oral sex partners.

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