(HealthDay News) – Poor oral health is a risk factor for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection independent of smoking and oral sex practices, according to a study published online Aug. 21 in Cancer Prevention Research.
Thanh Cong Bui, DrPH, from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,439 participants in the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (aged 30–69 years) for whom data on oral HPV and oral health were available.
The researchers found that higher unadjusted prevalence of oral HPV infection was significantly associated with four measures of oral health, including self-rated oral health as poor-to-fair (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.56), the possibility of gum disease (PR, 1.51), reported use of mouthwash to treat dental problems in the past week (PR, 1.28), and higher number of teeth lost (Ptrend = 0.035). Independent of smoking and oral sex, oral HPV infection had a statistically significant association with self-rated overall oral health (odds ratio, 1.55).
“Public health interventions may aim to promote oral hygiene and oral health as an additional measure to prevent HPV-related oral cancers,” the authors write.