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HPV vaccine may prevent oral cancer

Several strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) are known to cause genital warts and some cervical cancers. HPV is also linked to oropharyngeal cancers, which occur in the throat at the back of the mouth, the soft palate, the base of the tongue and the tonsils, according to a study in the journal General Dentistry. Just as the HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer and other diseases caused by the virus, it may also decrease the risk of head and neck cancers, say researchers. To avoid oral health complications, the Academy of General Dentistry suggests you:

  • Visit your dentist twice a year, which will enable him or her to detect changes in your mouth.
  • Ask your dentist to take a full medical history to help determine whether you’re at risk for certain problems and to perform a complete head and neck exam. Early detection can be a lifesaver.