Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Successful Smiles Podcast: Teens, Sex, and Oral Health

Dr. Helaine Smith's Successful Smiles \ healthcast #6

This episode of Successful Smiles is the first in a series that explores the connection between your oral health and physical health.

In this episode, I discuss oral health, sex, and teenagers. According to the American Dental Association, oral cancer strikes over 34,000 Americans annually, with over 25% dying of the disease, which claims more lives than melanoma and cervical cancer. The death rate for this cancer is relatively high due to the fact that the disease is not detected early enough.

Additionally, research has indicated a link between the human papilloma virus (HPV) and oral cancer. Researchers at John Hopkins compared patients who had oral cancer with those who did not. The study revealed that those patients who had one to five oral sex partners doubled their risk for throat cancer and those with more than five increased their risk by 250% -- and even more worrisome, increased their risk for the HPV-16 strain of virus by 750%. Over 70% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV Types 16 and 18.

The podcast covers the following:

  • The increase in STDs and how this increase is affecting young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

  • How to protect yourself from STDs.

  • The link between oral sex, HPV, and oral cancer.

  • Why you should get tested for throat cancer if you're sexually active and have one or more partners.

Send any questions about dental health, or suggestions for future podcasts, to

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