HPV and Teens from the Art of Cosmetic Dentistry

A recent article in RDH magazine revealed some startling information about HPV infections. HPV or human papillomavirus is now responsible for more than half of all oral pharyngeal cancers diagnosed. This increase is due to changing sexual behaviors in young adults who do not view oral sex as a sexual activity. This is unfortunate as 50% of those having sex for the first time will acquire HPV within the first year of being sexually active. Although most strains of HPV are not harmful, there are more than 40 strains that can infect the genitals, mouth, and throat. In most people the infection clears up, but in some people it interferes with cell function and contributes to the development of cancer cells. These are usually located in the posterior of the mouth, tonsils, tonsillar pillar, the base of tongue, and oropharynx. As a parent discuss the risks of oral sex with your young adult, and consider having the Vizilite oral cancer screening done annually on your young adult.