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Oral Sex May Cause Throat Cancer— Skeptical? Ask Michael Douglas

What do maggots, tomato plants, and oral cancer all have in common? They have all been found inside someone’s mouth.

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By Raychel Harvey-Jones--However, there is a much bigger problem, and it’s the elephant in the room. There is no polite why to say this; if you like oral sex- read on.

As a dentist in practice for more than 30 years, Dr. Gary Glassman (Dr. G) thought he had seen it all. “ I have removed maggots from a child’s gums and a tomato plant that was growing from a seed in another patient. Oral fitness is as important as physical fitness, this week a young man died in California from a tooth infection that spread to his lungs” says Dr. G.

Dr. G is concerned about the growing numbers of mouth and throat cancer caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that is transmitted during oral sex.

Dr. G, a leading global oral fitness expert, says, “The scary part about the growing concern of oral cancer among men is that we think of oral sex as a safer alternative to intercourse."

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the HPV virus is the most sexually transmitted infection in the United States, and it’s showing up in men aged 40-60 years old. Skeptical? Just ask actor Michael Douglas.

In an interview published in The Guardian newspaper in London, Douglas mentioned that his throat cancer could have been brought on by oral sex, a common way to become infected with HPV.

“A new report from the CDC suggests that HPV-positive throat cancer will overtake cervical cancer in women by 2020. We are seeing the HPV-positive throat cancer more in older men as they produce less saliva. Saliva acts as a natural coating that protects the mouth from infections. Also, there are a plethora of medications used everyday by older guys that cause dry mouth; medications like Ibuprofen and Amoxicillin,” says Dr. G. Most men who have HPV will never develop any symptoms but HPV can lead to warts and other types of cancers.

There are about 200 different strains of HPV. Some cause common warts when they invade the skin. Others are the cause of sexually transmitted diseases.

“HPV can cause cervical cancer, as well as cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils, though these are not the same strains of the virus. Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV, " adds Dr. G.

According to the CDC, there is no approved test to check for HPV in the mouth or throat; this is why regular visits to your dentist are critical. A dentist can monitor any changes in your mouth. There are HPV tests that can be used to screen for cervical cancer.

“More than half of American men who are having sex will get HPV at some point in their lives," adds Dr. G.

"Your mouth is crucial when it comes to your overall general health. Treat your dentist's chair as an extension of your trips to the gym; it’s just as vital to your health and fitness. “

Dr. G, a leading global oral fitness expert, says, “The HPV vaccine is a must before you are sexually active. However, if that ship has sailed then here are some ways to prevent the spread of the virus during oral sex.

* Maintain healthy mouth, teeth, and gums.

Don’t engage in oral sex if you have any dental problems until you after you see your dentist.

“Mouth ulcers and chronic inflammation are gateways for the HPV virus.” Aside from the obvious negative impact of smoking on your health, tobacco may prevent certain strains of HPV from clearing the body.

* Rinse your mouth with ONLY water before and after oral sex. Never brush, floss or gargle with mouthwash.

Brushing and flossing aggressively can irritate the gums and gum lines. If your gums bleed after flossing, you may be at a higher risk of an infection from that irritation. Most mouthwashes contain alcohol that can also cause irritation in your mouth and heighten your risk of receiving the HPV virus.

* Avoid having oral sex if you have minor cuts in your mouth.

Foods with sharp edges, such as potato chips, hard candies, toast, and crackers cause small cuts that you may not even be aware of and these cuts makes it easier for infection to pass from one partner to another.

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