HPV Vaccine and Oral Health
Vaccinations aren’t given just for measles and the flu. There is not a vaccine that fights the human papillomavirus, or HPV. This helps prevent oral cancer.
What is the connection between HPV and oral cancer?
Contracting HPV can contribute to oropharyngeal cancers, or cancers that appear in the head, neck, or inside the mouth. This disease can affect the tongue, tonsils, the walls of the pharynx, or in the back of the throat. If left untreated, oral cancer can be fatal. Overall cancer rates in the US are dropping, but the number of oral and oropharyngeal cancers are on the rise. The increase seems to be related to HPV according a 2011 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
How is oral cancer detected?
Going to the dentist is your best chance at catching any health concerns with the mouth. Your dentist or hygienist will look for signs of oral cancer while the regular dental exam is done. Some symptoms they look for include:
- Mouth pain that doesn’t go away
- Mouth sore that isn’t healing
- Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
- Lumps in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing
If you notice any of these issues, inform your dentist right away. Teeth Whitening in Foley AL
Is oral cancer the only risk with HPV?
Other oral complications of HPV do happen, the most notably is mouth sores. A raised white bump inside the mouth may be caused by HPV and needs to be examined by your dentist or doctor. Canker sores can also develop. These are not dangerous but do make it difficult to eat.
When should my child be vaccinated against HPV?
The US Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation is that both girls and boys receive the vaccine between the ages of 9-26, but ideally starting around age 11 or 12. It is given in three doses. If you fall into this category or your child does, ask your primary care physician about the vaccine. Teeth Whitening in Foley AL
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