Vaccination isn’t only limited to flu. Having HPV vaccine for your teens is important as it helps prevent cancer in mouth and throat.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognized the link between HPV and the development of oral pharyngeal cancer.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes sexually transmitted diseases such as genital warts. An HPV infection can lead to problems for both boys and girls.
In female, it can lead to cervical cancer, as well as cancer in the vulva, vagina, throat and mouth. In males, it may lead to cancer in the anus, penis, throat and mouth.
HPV has been associated with the development of oropharyngeal cancers – cancers that emerge in the neck, head and in the mouth, affecting the tonsils, base of tongue, back of throat and walls of pharynx. If left untreated, oral cancer can be life-threatening.
Your dentist will check for signs of oral cancer as part of routine dental exam. Common symptoms to look for include:
- A sore that won’t heal
- Mouth pain that won’t relieve
- A lump in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Numbness in the tongue and other parts of the mouth
Who should have HPV vaccine?
The American Dental Association supports the administration of HPV vaccine as a preventative measure for oral HPV infection, along with cancers that it could cause. Below are the guidelines on the dosing and age based on the instructions from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Two doses for girls and boys ages 11 to 12, although it can be given as early as 9.
- Three doses for teens and young adults ages 15 to 26.
Is HPV Vaccine Safe?
This vaccine so far has an excellent safety record. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over 170 million doses were already given with no reported serious safety concerns.
How about side effects?
Like any type of vaccine, pain, redness and tenderness in the injection site may be experienced after vaccination. After the shot, it will be checked after 15 minutes for adverse reactions.
When it comes to maintaining your oral health, your best resource is your dentist. Ask her questions about diseases of the tongue, throat, mouth and tonsils so you have better understanding about HPV and HPV vaccine.