What is HPV Infection?
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. These HPVs also infect throats and mouths of both males and females. Aside from genital-to-genital contact, HPV can be passed on during oral sex. Infected persons to not even know that they are infected, and HPV may even be passed years after contact with an infected person. Although 90% of infections go away within two years, there are some HPV infections that cause serious problems. Problems caused by HPV include cancers of the penis, cervix, anus, head, neck and even the throat.
Not all HPV infections cause cancer, like that of genital HPV infections, but a huge percentage of cancers of the mouth, the pharynx, and other oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV. Throat cancer can be caused by HPV, thus it can be passed onto during oral sex. 60% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV. Although such cancers may be similar to tobacco- or alcohol-related cancers, they are two different cancers. Oral infections share the same HPV types found in the genital regions for both men and women.
How do I to help prevent HPV Infection?
Keeping a healthy oral hygiene today does not only mean keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Daily brushing and flossing will also help prevent possible oral HPV infections. Likewise, regular checkups with your doctor for dental cleaning also contribute to preventing these infections. Also ensure that you change your toothbrush regularly to prevent it from getting too dirty. You can also include cleaning your tongue in your oral routine, and finishing off with a mouthwash. There are also sugarless gums that help improve saliva flow to help reduce bacteria in the mouth. Basic oral hygiene definitely goes a long way in preventing these HPV infections.