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Is There a Link Between Cancer and Poor Oral Health?

If you suffer from swollen gums, missing teeth, or other poor oral health symptoms, then you may be at a higher risk of contracting human papillomavirus. Known as HPV, the human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted disease that results in cancers of the cervix, mouth, and throat.

If you have poor oral hygiene, you are at a higher risk of contracting this disease orally. While there is only a modest association between oral health and the HPV infection, there is still a clear link. Researchers are unsure if “poor oral health causes HPV infection and then would go on to cancer.” What they did find was that even when excluding the number of oral sexual partners the subjects had, that those with poor oral health were 55 percent more likely to have an oral HPV infection.

The science behind this link is that poor oral health allows for sores, inflammation and lesions in your mouth, through which HPV can enter. It is much easier for HPV to enter through these inflamed areas in your mouth and enter the bloodstream. Researchers urge patients not to stress too much. They say that since the association is modest that people should not jump to varying their habits because these studies are in their infancy.