HPV and Oral Cancer

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is best known as a sexually transmitted infection. In the United States, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, with 79 million Americans currently infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to increasing risk for cervical cancer, HPV is a contributing factor in some cases of oral cancer. Each year an estimated 1,700 women and 6,700 men develop oropharyngeal cancer, which affects the tongue and throat.

Connection between HPV and oral cancer

There are more than 40 strains of HPV that live in the skin and mucosal areas. Some of these affect the genitalia, while others are found in the mouth and throat. Of the strains of oral HPV, only one, called HPV16, increases the risk of oral cancer, the Oral Cancer Foundation reports. A retrospective study conducted found that oral cancer developed an average of 15 years after exposure to HPV, making it a relatively slow-growing form of cancer.

In general, 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetimes, while 99% develop no ill effects. Getting oral HPV is associated with multiple sexual partners and engaging in oral sex; however, even some individuals who have been with only one partner may contract the infection. Although overall risk of oral cancer from HPV infection is low, it is essential to be proactive about oral health.

How to prevent HPV-related oral cancer

Scientists continue to study how HPV infections lead to oral cancer, so little is known about the progression of the disease. However, one recent study found that poor oral health, including gum disease and poor oral hygiene, is associated with oral cancer risk. Thus, being vigilant about brushing and flossing your teeth regularly may reduce HPV-related oral cancer. Getting the HPV vaccine also protects against the oral form of the virus.

Another key way to reduce mortality from oral cancer is to have regularly scheduled appointments with at Dental Implant and Laser Surgical Specialists. Having the doctor examine your mouth at least two times a year increases the likelihood that a sign of oral cancer, such as a sore or patch, will be detected. If you’re concerned about HPV-related oral cancer, please give us a call at our Santa Ana, California office for advice about oral hygiene and disease prevention.

Our Location

2010 East First Street Suite 230, Tustin, CA, 92705

Hours of Operation

Early mornings, late afternoon and Saturday appointments available upon request.

Monday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

  • "Such a caring and wonderful Dr. and team. They had me so comfortable and relaxed during my gum graft i actually fell asleep! His knowledge and technology are superb. Would definitely recommend Dr. Elyassian to anyone!"
    Chelsea M.
  • "Dr. Elyassian and his staff are great. Nice clean office. Very friendly and always give me the best service and treatment. Definitely would recommend."
    Siria R.
  • "I'm so glad I found Dr. Elyassian! I needed a bone and gum tissue graft to fix an issue from a previous dentist and Dr. Elyassian saved the day! He's talented and professional, and he really cares!"
    Arlene
  • "I am amazingly pleased with the friendly and high-quality service I receive every time I go to Dental Implant & Laser Surgical Specialists. Dr. Elyassian's expertise and concern for my overall dental health is truly appreciated."
    Melissa B.