Why You Need To Talk To Your Dentist About Oral Sex

Hi, Dr. Mark Burhenne here of AsktheDentist.com. So, here’s a burning question for you. Should you be discussing oral sex with your
dentist? I know that’s a little bit of a shock and maybe a little uncomfortable for you to mention to your dentist, but I would recommend that you have that
conversation. The reason is this. HPV, the human papillomavirus
now supercedes or is now the main cause for oral cancer. It used to be, back when I was in dental school we were training how to identify the high risk group —pretty easy to do, the people that chew tobacco, the smokers and the heavy drinkers. But now, it’s the people that have had —according to some researchers, it’s the people that have had oral sex with more than 20 partners. Again, this is a line drawn in the sand by
researchers. It’s something you have to figure out for yourself. But talk to your dentist about the connection
and how it can cause oral cancer. It’s a serious thing. And if it is not caught early, it can kill you. So, the dentist can do an oral cancer exam. We’re trained to do it. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is possible to get a complete oral cancer exam at the dental office. I think the better exam, if you’re a patient that
needs to have this done, would be at the ENT, the ear, nose and throat. They would basically get your nose or throat numb and send a camera down there and take a really, really good look because that’s where a lot of this cancer is found —at the base of the tongue, the oropharynx, I mean tissues and anatomical parts of the throat
that can get cancer. And I can’t see that as a dentist. So, I think it’s a false sense of security that you think your dentist is giving an oral cancer exam every six months and that you’re fine. So, have this conversation with your dentist, find
out more about it. There is one other test which I am beginning to think needs to be routine. And that is the test that you order out. Your dentist brings it to you. You create some saliva in your mouth, swish into
it, and spit into a test tube, and it gets sent off. And that is like a blood test essentially. It’s looking for a marker for this cancer. And I think that’s something you should consider. So, if you think that you’ve had —and again, this is the line drawn in the sand by some Harvard researchers— if you think you’ve had oral sex with more than 20 partners, ask your dentist about this test and have it done. And this will give you some peace of mind. So, in conclusion, have a discussion about oral
sex with your dentist. It may save your life.

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