More Evidence of Poor Oral Health Leading to HPV

If a person needed more incentive to maintain good oral health, now he or she has it.

The American Association for Cancer Research concluded that poor oral health leads to the human papilloma virus infection. HPV produces about 40 to 80 percent of oropharyngeal cancers.

The study appears in Cancer Prevention Research, the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The information indicated that the people who reported oral health issues were at a 56-percent higher risk of HPV infection. People with gum disease were at higher risk by 51 percent and those with basic dental issues were at 28 percent. There was also a correlation involving HPV infections and the number of teeth lost.

The two kinds of oral HPV infection include (1) low-risk types that do not result in cancer but cause benign tumors or warts in the oral cavity and (2) high-risk HPV that produces oropharyngeal cancers.

The information comes from the 2009 through 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 5,000 people from around the United States took part in the study.

There were four measures of oral health in the study, including (1) self rating of oral health, (2) presence of gum disease, (3) utilization of mouthwash during the last week to treat dental problems and (4) the total number of teeth lost. Other demographic questions and lifestyles habits were taken into account.

The research demonstrated that the following people were at a higher risk for HPV infection: males, cigarette smokers, marijuana users and people who engage in oral sex.

More research is necessary to fully understand why poor oral health leads to HPV.