The sex warning you never thought you'd hear from a dentist
ORAL sex now comes with a stern warning, as Australia's dentists warn unprotected oral sex could contribute to mouth or throat cancers.
The campaign also warns of health risks caused by binge drinking, drug taking, smoking and having a poor diet.
The Australian Dental Association is using Dental Health Week, which begins on Monday, to focus on those between 18 and 30, by creating the "Young Person's Oral Survival Guide".
Links between unprotected oral sex and cancer have been in the spotlight since actor Michael Douglas attributed his own almost-fatal bout of throat cancer as being at least partly caused by oral sex.
In June, Mr Douglas, who is married to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, told British newspaper The Guardian his cancer battle was a result of both stress from his son Cameron facing jail time and the human papillomavirus or HPV.
"Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus," he said.
"I did worry if the stress caused by my son's incarceration didn't help trigger it. But yeah, it's a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer."
Oral Health Committee chair Dr Peter Alldritt said for most people in their 20s, cancer was not a major concern.
He said smoking or drinking too much alcohol, consuming sugary drinks, having unprotected oral sex or even failing to care for mouth piercings did damage to teeth and gums.
"The ADA is suggesting that all young adults become aware of the risks associated with their actions, even if they plan to do them anyway," Dr Alldritt.
"Being aware does not require becoming a teetotaller or a prude.
"Whatever you put in your mouth or do with your mouth, do so responsibly, in moderation, and with the appropriate precautions.
"Your mouth will thank you in the long run."
To view the Young Persons Survival Guide, visit www.dentalhealthweek.com.au