Human papillomavirus-related oropharyngeal cancer(HPV) is officially registered as an epidemic. What does that mean for you and how often you should be going to the dentist? It means, if your dentist is up-to-date like Bitterroot Dental in Missoula is, you have nothing to worry about. We believe it’s our duty to guide you through the screenings for new diseases that pop up from time to time. You’ve trusted us with your oral health and the more we see links between cancer and other ailments with oral health red flags the more we have come to appreciate the long-term repercussions of our work in every single patient we perform a check-up to a root canal on. That being said, the average check-ups you need actually have a long road from their initial development to their nation-wide implementation. The reality of dental care is that it’s simply not a passive health tactic, it needs to be active.
HPV Is The Cause
It’s certainly become a notorious disease as it is now causing around three-quarters of all cancer. The rate of exposure to HPV is ridiculously high for both men and women and the worst part is that it doesn’t cause just oral cancer, it causes a whole string of them as well as a variety of other inconveniences. Before HPV, smoking and tobacco of essentially of any kind was the original cause of oral cancer for the longest time. However, suddenly, oral cancer jumped in popularity. In fact, over the last seven years, the number of oral cancer cases has increased exponentially especially when compared to the general decline in other cancers. We’ve managed to link this, cervical cancer, anal cancer and oral cancer all back to the original issue of HPV. On average, 12,000 people in the United States between the ages of 15 and 24 years old are infected with HPV. This isn’t an impossible-to-prevent virus though, the main way to prevent it as with most things is information. The more informed a person is the less likely they are to put themselves at risk. Unfortunately, information about HPV is in terribly short supply. Most people are completely unaware that they can contract HPV orally by having unprotected oral sex with someone who is infected.
You always hear about women being able to contract cervical cancer from unprotected sex with a partner but most folks never hear about HPV exposure via oral sex. Actually, more people contract oral cancer from HPV than people who contract any other kind of cancer from HPV, which means an early oral cancer screening is literally the difference between life and death. The responsibility for that conversation mainly falls on your dentist’s shoulders. Oral cancer progresses quickly, and if your dentist isn’t urging you to find out if you have HPV-OPC, you could develop troubles swallowing and chewing and what’s worse is if you don’t pursue treatment early-on it often results in death.
Don’t stay in the dark. Get tested for HPV-OPC now and access a dentist program that cares about you and your quality of life. Schedule your next appointment now.