New Challenges in Oral Health

As new generations are ushered in, the potential for new problems arise. And there are typically far-reaching effects that have to be acknowledged and addressed. An example is the rise in the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the results of it. As with any outbreak, the sooner it is discovered and treated, the better the odds for survival.

4.0% of American Adults Carry High-Risk Oral HPV | Dentistry Today

While tobacco and alcohol consumption remain the chief causes of oral cancer, the number of cases caused by HPV have been increasing. In fact, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 4.0% of all adults in the United States age 18 to 69 years have one or more of the 14 high-risk types of HPV known to cause oral cancer.

“This research is fueled by the rising incidence of HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), soon to be the most common HPV-related cancer in the United States, surpassing cervical cancer,” said Jo-Anne Jones, RDH, an educator and specialist in oral cancer. “We understand that a persistent infection with a high-risk strain is the pathway to oral and oropharyngeal cancer. This data substantiates the fear that HPV-related OPSCC is escalating quickly and reaching epidemic proportions.”

“Globally, we have seen a rise in oral and oropharyngeal cancer rates in recent years, much of which is due to an increase in HPV-related cancers. This trend is particularly alarming as many of these diagnoses are among younger, otherwise healthy nonsmokers who do not fall into the traditional risk group for oral cancers. Additionally, because the symptoms are often hard to identify, the cancers are not detected until they are late stage,” said Matthew H. J. Kim, founder, chairman, and CEO of Vigilant Biosciences.

Oral Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate

Dr.’s James Reisman and Jordana Contrucci, of C R Dental Group in Dallas, Texas, strongly urge patients to see their dentist at least twice a year. It is also important for your dental office to perform regular oral cancer screenings. Should you ever notice anything unnatural in your mouth, throat or on your tongue, or any persistant abnormality, schedule an exam with your dentist. There is not much more valuable than peace of mind.