It seems strange to be writing about oral sex and dentists, but its an important subject that we have been thinking about for a few years at Ock Street Clinic.
Last year (2011) the number of cases of mouth cancer rose above 6000 for the first time and two thirds of sufferers are men. Traditionally the main risk factors for oral cancer were smoking, drinking and age, but more recently there are an increasing number of patients presenting with mouth cancer where the cause is the sexually transmitted HPV virus. Oral cancer sufferers with HPV tend to have cancer at the base of the tongue or the tonsils, are often younger and fortunately doctors have a better chance of successfully treating the disease if caught early.
And that's why dentists are interested in oral sex. Firstly, we always check for the signs of mouth cancer at every visit, so whatever your activities in private we want to see you regularly so we can help with very early detection of mouth cancers, and secondly we want to make sure you know of the link between oral sex and mouth cancer so you can understand your own risk factors and make educated choices in your life.