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Oral sex and its risks for oral health

Oral sex is a common practice in erotic encounters. However, if precautions are not taken, their practice can carry some risks, especially for oral health. In this post we talk about the relationship between oral sex and oral health.

The mouth: a door to infectious diseases

Many infectious diseases such as that caused by HIV, mononucleosis, chickenpox, tuberculosis, syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, etc., can produce manifestations and lesions in the mouth, and can, in turn, be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids such as saliva. In the case of periodontal disease, the bacteria that cause it can be spread to another person through intimate contact, but there must be more predisposing factors to develop the disease and prolonged contact over time.


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the mouth

If we talk about sexually transmitted diseases or STDs, this contact with body fluids becomes even more important. In many cases, the presence of wounds or ulcers in the mouth causes the fluids from the genitals of the sexual partner to come into contact with the body, developing a localized infection. This contact can also occur the other way around, that from a person's mouth is transmitted to the partner's genitalia.


Symptoms of STDs in the mouth

There are multiple signs and symptoms of an active STD that can manifest on the tongue, lips, palate, throat ... such as:

  • Sores or ulcers.
  • Blisters.
  • Redness of the oral mucosa.
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes.
  • Pain and inflammation of the mouth.
  • Pain and inflammation of the throat with difficulty swallowing.
  • Fever.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Secretion of pus.
  • Appearance of red or white spots.

However, in many cases there are no obvious symptoms that show the presence of a disease. That is why it is important to use the necessary preventive measures and to know the state of oral and general health, both ourselves and our partner.


 What care must be taken when practicing oral sex?

To know our state of health it is advisable to carry out STD tests and periodic check-ups at the dentist, since in many cases it’s possible to detect these types of injuries and other potentially malignant ones in an early stage. When it comes to oral sex, it’s recommended the use of prophylactic devices, the most effective way to prevent this type of infection. In addition, it’s important to have a very good oral and genital hygiene, which will reduce the risk of developing wounds, ulcers or infections.


 What STDs can affect and be transmitted through the mouth?

The most common STDs that can affect and be transmitted through the mouth include herpes, human papillomavirus, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea.

 Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) or cold sore

Cold sores, known colloquially as fever, is a viral infection that affects a high percentage of the population. It is extremely contagious by close contact and can be transmitted through oral sex. HSV-2 is more related to genital lesions and HSV-1 to mouth lesions. Herpes produces small, fluid-filled blisters on the lips, gums, and palate. Symptoms may include fever that usually lasts several days and blisters that may take up to 3 weeks to fully heal. Once an episode of herpes infection has occurred, the virus remains inactive in nerve cells and can arise as another cold sore in the same place as before. Treatment is usually symptomatic with protective and anesthetic gels, although if detected at an early stage can be treated with antiviral drugs.

Human papillomavirus

It’s one of the most common sexual diseases. In the United States, 14 million new cases are diagnosed each year. There are multiple strains of the HPV virus and several of them can affect the mouth and throat, producing lesions in the form of papilloma or warts. They often have no symptoms, and treatment is usually surgical excision. High-risk strains are associated with the development of oral and throat cancer.


Syphilis

It’s a disease caused by the bacterium Treponema Pallidum, whose only natural reservoir is humans. The bacteria enter the body through wounds or cuts that may be in the mucosa from sexual contact. Immediately there is a local multiplication and invasion of the area. Usually the lesions in the mouth, called syphilitic chancre, appear after 1 month of incubation, and usually affect the lips and tongue. These sores are very contagious and often painful. Treatment is usually with antibiotics, and it is important to treat it in time, since it could evolve into secondary and tertiary syphilis, affecting other organs such as the heart and nervous system.


Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that can affect the mucousa of the mouth and throat. Sometimes it goes unnoticed because the symptoms are usually mild and can be mistaken for a common throat infection. If left untreated, it can lead to long-term problems such as infertility. Treatment is usually with antibiotics.


Chlamydia

It’s a bacterial infection that can cause a sore throat, but it does not usually present symptoms, which may also go undetected. Like the rest of STDs, it is transmittable by contact with bodily fluids through oral sex. It is easily treated with antibiotics.


HIV

It’s the virus that causes AIDS. It is contagious through contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk; saliva has a minimal risk of infection. In the mouth it usually presents with the appearance of other lesions such as fungal infection or candidiasis, hairy leukoplakia, necrotizing gingivitis, and other types of viruses such as herpes. Current treatment includes antiretroviral therapy.


How are sexually transmitted diseases treated?

As we have already seen, the treatment will depend on the type of disease and its severity. In the case of the treatment of herpes HSV-1, it will be symptomatic, with antiseptic and anesthetic rinses to reduce the pain of the ulcers. The use of antiviral medications can be helpful if they are applied when the first symptoms appear. In cases of bacterial diseases such as syphilis or gonorrhea, the treatment will be with antibiotics.


Oral health check up in A Coruña

Without the aforementioned precautions, oral sex can be, ultimately, a gateway to infectious and / or sexually transmitted diseases. If you live in A Coruña and have developed any of the aforementioned symptoms, we will be happy to receive you at our dental medical center to try to help you with this or any other oral problems.

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