Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of one’s health is oral health.  An important example of this is a recent study published in the American Association for Cancer Research. Among its findings are that one of the best ways to reduce your risk of contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a good oral health regimen. HPV places one at greatly increased risk for cancer.

The study, conducted by the venerable University of Texas Health Science Center, has led researchers to believe that there is a direct link between a person’s oral health and HPV infection. Smoking is another risk factor for this oral infection.

The study explored data collected from subjects ranging in age from 30 to 69 and measured general oral health, whether subjects had gum disease, what measures they took in treating dental issues and the number of teeth lost to date. Other aspects examined included: age, gender, smoking status, and other factors known to lead to HPV infection.

The study concluded that poor oral health is a clear risk factor for HPV infection, whether or not one also smokes cigarettes. In addition, it states that improving one’s oral hygiene at any time can reduce the risk of contracting HPV, and that oral cancer resulting from HPV is, therefore, one of the most preventable diseases.

While researchers stated that more research is needed to better understand the relationship between insufficient oral health and HPV infection, it is clear that good oral hygiene is not only a good idea, it could literally save your life.

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