A new study published in Cancer Prevention Research examines the link between general oral health and the oral human papillomavirus (HPV).  The research, conducted by scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is the first of its kind and indicated a “higher unadjusted prevalence of oral HPV infection was associated with four measures of oral health.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), oral HPV can be connected to various cancers:

Some types of oral HPV (known as “high risk types”) can cause cancers of the head and neck area. Other types of oral HPV (known as “low risk types”) can cause warts in the mouth or throat. In most cases, HPV infections of all types go away before they cause any health problems. (CDC.gov)

An article in the New York Times, however, quotes several experts who note that the link is still too tenuous to be definitive.  Christine Markham, one of the authors of the study, told the Times, “We don’t have sufficiently strong evidence to demonstrate that conclusively in the study, but that’s our thinking.”

Image credit: CDC.gov