Another reason to take good care of your teeth and gums: It may help prevent infection with oral HPV (human papillomavirus), which causes most oral cancers in the U.S.
A recent study published in Cancer Prevention Research found that in a nationwide sampling of people ages 30 to 69, those who reported that they had gum disease or poor oral health in general were about 50 percent more likely to have oral HPV infection. Being male, smoking (tobacco or marijuana), having multiple sex partners and having oral sex also increased the risk of infection.
However, when the researchers adjusted the data for these factors, the association between oral health and HPV still held up. The researchers speculated that poor oral health and hygiene increase the odds of infection by resulting in wounds and abrasions that could serve as an entry portal for the virus.