The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common infection that many people have. Unfortunately, HPV infection has been linked to many oral cancers, so it’s important to understand the pathology of the infection.

Denture use is one factor that’s been linked to HPV infection. But do dentures actually increase your risk of HPV infection? Is this a health concern? And is there anything you can do to reduce your risk?

HPV under a microscope

People with Dentures Are More Likely to Have HPV

There have been several studies showing that people who wear dentures are more likely to have oral HPV infection. An older study estimated that the incidence of HPV among denture wearers is about 51%. By comparison, it is estimated that the overall HPV infection rate is 6.9%. This doesn’t necessarily show a higher infection rate among denture wearers.

However, a more recent study estimates that, in fact, denture wearers are about 3.2 times more likely to be infected with HPV.

Do Dentures Cause HPV Infection?

This is a more difficult question to answer. Yes, people who wear dentures are more likely have HPV infections, but HPV infections are also associated with tobacco use, which is associated with increased risk of tooth loss.

However, there are potential mechanisms by which dentures could lead to increased HPV infection. For example, HPV infection may be associated with poor oral hygiene, and traditional dentures are harder to keep clean. And tiny injuries make it easier for the virus to penetrate into the gums. Traditional dentures, especially poorly fitting dentures, tend to cause injury to the gums, which could increase HPV risk.

Should You Be Worried?

Since HPV infection is linked to oral cancer, it is worrying to learn that HPV infection might be linked to denture wear. Of course, we already know that denture use can increase your cancer risk. Is HPV the mechanism?

It’s possible. Although most of the HPV discovered in denture wearers are harmless, a few have been linked to oral cancer. So it is possible that dentures could cause HPV infections that contribute to cancer risk.

What Can You Do?

If you’re a denture wearer, you can do some things to help reduce your risk of HPV infection. First, consider dentures that don’t rest on your gums: fully supported implant dentures can help reduce your HPV risk. Take proper care of your dentures to keep dentures and your mouth clean. And make sure your dentures fit properly. FOY ® Dentures, for example, use a comprehensive fitting process that can reduce irritation to your gums and therefore reduce infection risk.

If you are looking for quality dentures in Columbia, SC that can promote your overall health, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with a denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.