Can You Get Oral Cancer From HPV?

The words sex and dentist don’t usually go together in the same sentence, but there is an increasing amount of evidence demonstrating a link between Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and oral cancer. While the primary risks associated with mouth and throat cancer remain drinking alcohol, smoking and chewing tobacco, there is concern that an increasing number of cancer cases are caused by an HPV infection in the mouth.

Around 1 in 4 mouth cancers and 1 in 3 throat cancers are HPV-related, but in younger patients, almost all of those diagnosed with oral cancer contracted it from HPV.

HPV is a viral infection that is passed between people through skin-to-skin contact. There are more than 100 varieties of HPV, and more than 40 of them are passed through sexual contact and can affect your genitals, mouth or throat. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to have penetrative sex to contract it. You can get HPV from:

  • Any skin-to-skin contact of the genital area

  • Vaginal, anal or oral sex

  • Sharing sex toys