New information on HPV infection

Poor oral health may put you at a greater risk for developing HPV.

What's HPV? The human papilloma viruses are a group of common infections that can cause a number of health concerns for individuals. With more than 100 variations, HPV is often harmless. However, there are about 30 strands that may lead to cancer. The most common symptom is genital warts, which may affect both males and females, according to the National Institutes of Health.1

Females can get screened for HPV during their annual pap smears, and latex condoms may reduce the risk of catching it. Currently, it's common for people to be vaccinated against the most common types of the virus.

New links to the HPV infection
Medical News Today recently published an article covering new findings from researchers at the University of Texas Health Services Center. Based on a study that analyzed information collected via the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, it is now believed that there may be a link between poor oral health and contracting the HPV infection.2

Nearly 3,500 individuals between the ages of 30 and 69 provided information on their oral health practices. Information collected included:

  • self-rating of overall oral health
  • use of mouthwash – within seven days of the survey
  • instances of gum disease
  • number of teeth lost

The survey also traced occurrences of 19 low-risk and 18 high-risk HPV types among those involved. The health care professionals also took into account other factors that can affect the risk of someone developing HPV, such as age and gender.

Based on all of the information that was gathered, researchers found that those who had bad oral health were 56 percent more likely to contract an oral HPV infection when compared to those with good brushing and flossing habits. More specifically:

  • Individuals who had gum disease were at a 51 percent greater risk
  • Participants with dental problems in general increased their risk by 28 percent

The authors of the study feel as though their findings provide sufficient evidence that solicits my research on the causes of HPV. Specifically, they would like to see attention put on areas that the virus affects – including the feet, fingers and nails.

Maintaining positive oral habits
In order to keep your oral habits healthy, you'll want to stick to the basic dental care practices. In need of a refresher? The Mayo Clinic suggests:3

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
  • Flossing gently on a daily basis
  • Using fluoride toothpaste
  • Purchasing a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Angling your toothbrush so that the bristles point toward where your teeth meet the gum
  • Rinsing your toothbrush before storing it in an upright position
  • Replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if necessary

Medex Supply offers health care offices and professionals with a number of supplies that help to prevent infection. It's important for doctors to have access to all the necessary medical supplies when detecting and treating infections such as HPV.

1 MedlinePlus, "HPV"
2 Medical News Today, "HPV infection linked to poor oral health, say cancer prevention researchers" August 22, 2013
3 Mayo Clinic, "Oral health: brush up on dental care basics" May 14, 2013

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