HPV and Oral Health


Good oral hygiene involves more than just keeping plaque away. You need to be aware of other dangers, too. One of the biggest is HPV. That's human papillomavirus. There are more than a hundred HPV viruses. Many affect the mouth and throat and genitals.

How it spreads

HPV infections are very common. In fact, most sexually active people will become infected with HPV during their lives. It spreads through skin-to skin contact, and through sexual activity. It can spread to your mouth through oral sex. When it infects your mouth or throat, we call it "oral HPV." If you get oral HPV, you may not have any symptoms. But you can pass it to other people.

Signs and symptoms

Some types of oral HPV can cause mouth and throat warts. Others can cause cancer. Cancer cells may form in the tissues of your tongue, tonsils, or the wall of your throat. As the cancer grows, you may notice lumps in your throat, neck or cheeks. Your lymph nodes may swell. You may have other symptoms, such as a constant sore throat or earache, trouble swallowing, or weight loss.


Oral HPV is a serious health issue that is becoming increasingly common, especially in men. So make sure you are aware of changes in your mouth and throat. If you see anything suspicious, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.