Hygiene examHPV (human papilloma virus) is not only on the rise, but it is now the number one cause of oral cancer. This needs to be taken seriously because it is truly a 21st-century pandemic. HPV a sexually transmitted disease and the scary fact is that one out of every two people is at risk of HPV infection.[1] That is 50% of the population. The predominant mode of HPV virus transmission is oral sex.[2]

Oral HPV is the same virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancer.  Historically, oral cancer was caused by smoking and alcohol consumption.  But the rise in oral HPV will lead to death in one of four people with oral cancer. This happens because it is not diagnosed in time.  Yet, this type oral cancer is one of the easiest cancers to spot, diagnose and treat.

Dr. Oz says testing for HPV is something everyone needs to do to prevent fatalities from oral cancer.  Here are the steps he suggests:

 * Demand an oral cancer screening with every dentist visit, but at least one a year.

 * Limit alcohol and tobacco use

 * Limit exposure to UV radiation. Make sure your lip balm has a high SPF rating

 * Practice safe sex.

Dr. Oz advocates the need to change the way we have sex in America. Your partner must wear a condom throughout your entire sexual partnership or completely abstain from sex orally. The more we engage in unprotected oral sex, the more we will have oral cancer showing up.[3]

Unfortunately, we in the dental field find there is a disconnect in the patient understanding the relationship between their dental exams and their overall health.  Most patients do not realize or accept that the dentist is more than a just a tooth mechanic and their mouth houses more than just teeth.

Early detection is the key to stopping this pandemic before it’s too late. The first line of defense is through your dentist.  And when offered a salivary DNA test, realize it’s for your own preventive care.   Those who should be tested are:

  • Patients with traditional risk factors for oral cancer
  • Patients who are sexually active
  • Patients with a family history of oral cancer
  • Patients with signs and symptoms of oral cancer
  • Patients with suspicious oral lesions.

If we can be of help, please feel free to contact us for a Salivary DNA test conducted in our Sandy Springs Office.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328




Related articles

[1] http://oralcancerfoundation.org/hpv/  (2010)

[2] Dr. Bert W. O’Malley, Jr M.D., Head and Neck Surgeon, on the Dr. Oz Show (2011).

[3] Dr. Oz Show (2011)