HPV infections are most common among teens and women aged 25 years and younger who are sexually active. Having many sexual partners significantly increases the risk of HPV infections. If you notice lesions or warts on your tongue, soft palate, or tonsils, one of the possible causes is infection with the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
There are multiple types of HPV that are described by numbers. Oral lesions are associated with types that are low risk for cancer, such as type 6 or 11, and high risk for cancer, such as type 16 or 18. It’s important to find out which type you have. Some high-risk types are associated with cervical and other cancers, while other types are benign.
The HPV virus is spread mainly through skin-to-skin contact. The oral lesions associated with HPV are not part of the typical picture of gum disease. But be sure to see your dentist if you notice any lesions in your mouth or on your tongue. There is no cure for an HPV infection, but if you have a healthy immune system, your body may be able to get rid of the virus on its own without treatment. Even so, your doctor may want to remove lesions that are high-risk types.
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