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Poor Oral Health May Increase Risk of HPV Infection, Says New Study

Posted on November 15, 2013 by Dr. Mal Braverman

Poor oral health may increase the risk of oral human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of throat cancer, according to a new study published in Cancer Prevention Research.

The study, which used data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), was conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Sciences Center in Houston.

With access to information from 3,439 participants between the ages of 30 and 69, the team was able to separate people into large groups based on their oral health. Factors that commonly influence HPV infection, such as age, gender, cigarette smoking, and marital status, were also analyzed.

After all of the numbers were crunched, researchers found that participants who had bad oral health had a 56 percent greater risk of developing oral HPV infection than participants who had good oral health. But that wasn’t all.

The study also uncovered that even among those with poor oral health, certain groups were at a higher risk of oral HPV infection. For example, those with gum disease were at a 51 percent higher risk, while those with other dental issues like missing teeth or cavities only had a 28 percent higher risk of HPV infection.

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