Oral HPV and Oral Cancer Linked by Farmington Hills Dentist

The human papillomavirus (HPV) affects at least 20 million Americans, making it one of the more common viruses. Every year, doctors diagnose roughly 6 million new cases of HPV. The usual method of discovering the HPV virus is an annual pap smear with a gynecologist. What does this have to do with dental health? Many people don’t realize that HPV can also occur in the mouth. Farmington Hills dentist, Dr. Aziza Askari, will explain how oral HPV raises the risk of oral cancer, and how a test called oral DNA can help.

Dental Health DNA

Oral DNA is typically used to measure quantities and variations of bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth. These different strains of bacteria can cause periodontal disease (gum disease) and dental caries (cavities). Inflammation and infection are at the core of these dental conditions. Swollen gums, periodontal pockets, and tooth loss are all typical side effects when gum disease and tooth decay are left unattended. Oral bacteria can have systemic implications in other parts of your body as well. Medical research studies have linked heart disease, stroke, and diabetes with gum disease. Undergoing OralDNA testing gives the advantage of detecting gum disease bacteria early on.

Oral HPV and Oral Cancer

Various types of oral HPV are linked to oral cancer risk factors. This makes it exciting that OralDNA testing can also detect the HPV virus. Oral cancer is very difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are vague in the early stages. Once oral cancer progresses and symptoms become more pervasive, the survival rate is unfortunately much lower. Oral HPV presents similarly – few or no symptoms. Additionally, occurrences of the HPV virus in the mouth can be a precursor to oral cancer, making preventive testing an important part of your overall dental health.