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STI linked to oral health conditions

Dental professionals have been advised to provide their patients with more information about the sexually-transmitted virus human papillomavirus (HPV), as the condition can lead to oral health problems.

Research published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research revealed the illness, which is usually transmitted through oral sex, was associated with gum disease, tooth loss and several additional dental issues.

Scientists found that respondents who said they had poor oral health had more than twice the number of HPV infections (56 per cent), which was a similar number to those who had gum disease (51 per cent).

In addition, the study established a link between HPV and the number of teeth a person had lost.

Researchers also noted a further cause for concern was the link between the condition and mouth cancer, which they claimed could rival tobacco and alcohol as a key risk factor within ten years.

The number of sexual partners a person has throughout their life, as well as the age they lose their virginity has been associated with sexually-transmitted HPV. As young people are increasingly being diagnosed with the illness, medical professionals have noted a fall in the average age of mouth cancer patients.

Dentists are advised to increase the amount of information they provide for their patients through dental marketing, which educates them about the importance of having regular check-ups to maintain their oral health.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said healthy teeth and gums should be a cornerstone of everyone’s daily routine.

He added: “Smoking, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and smokeless tobacco are all risk factors which can contribute to mouth cancer.

“People who smoke and drink to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease, so it is crucial we continue to educate the public about these risks.”

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