Why Should My Dentist Be Interested In My Sexual Health?

Publish Date: 12/09/2017

One thing we don’t talk enough about in sexual health is what happens in our mouths and how HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections can affect our oral health along with our sexual health. This is just one of the areas that Pride in Practice is looking to improve to make sure that dental practices throughout Greater Manchester are better informed about the needs of our communities.

Pride in Practice is working with Dental Practices across Greater Manchester and among the first practices to take advantage of the training and support available have been Church Lane Dental Practice in Newton Heath, East Road Dental Practice in Longsight  and The Dentists of Didsbury in Manchester.

Rasheeda Agbalaya, Business & Operations Manager at The Dentists of Didsbury comments:

‘I would urge all patients to be open with their dentist about their health and sexual orientation to ensure that they receive all the necessary care and advice they need to maintain general and oral health.

As a team, we ensure all our patients receive a comprehensive oral health and soft tissue examination as part of their oral health checks - we don’t just look at your teeth!

As healthcare professionals, we do not receive comprehensive training on treating the LGBT community. It is for this reason, that we made the conscious decision to seek advice and more background information to ensure that our team are able to be a fully inclusive practice and able to cater for the needs of all our patients in our community. 

The team received such a vital breadth of knowledge that culminated in us being the first dental practice to achieve the Gold Award for excellence in lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans healthcare – something which we are very proud of!

The training we received was delivered in a very relatable and practical manner – it helped to dispel any myths, stereotypes and erroneous information we may have had and really helped us to feel so much more confident when treating our LGBT patients.

I would highly recommend all healthcare professionals, especially dental, to attend this invaluable course.’

Safer Oral Sex & Getting Tested

Oral sex may be considered safer sex as far as transmitting HIV but it doesn’t come without risk for Sexually Transmitted Infections (no pun intended). You can make oral sex safer by using a flavoured condom on your partner’s cock, because it acts as a barrier between the mouth and the cock. A dam (a square of very thin, soft plastic) across your partner’s vulva or arse can also protect against infection. If your partner is trans and has natural growth from taking testosterone, you can use a finger cot or a thumb cut from a latex or nitrile glove over their cock instead of a condom if that’s a better fit.

For those who don’t want to use flavoured condoms or dams then it is important to get tested for any infections regularly as you or your partner(s) may not realise you have an infection and be more likely to pass anything on by having oral sex.

Am I at increased risk?

Many of us will be more vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted Infections if we have bleeding, scratched or damaged gums, mouth ulcers or a sore throat. But do we discuss this in consultation with our dentist?

One gay man told us of his experiences of going to the dentist recently:

‘There is a missed opportunity in the context of the role dentists play in sexual health.  I take my sexual health seriously and in my view dentists are well placed to give advice on sexual health specifically on their patient's mouth/gum health. Many people don’t use condoms or dental dams when participating in oral sex, yet in my experience of attending dental surgeries over the years I have never noticed any displays of leaflets on sexual health or indeed any clues the practice might be 'LGBT-friendly' and it is ok to ask about sexual health.’ 

If you would like to recommend your dentist receives training and support from Pride in Practice, let us know by e-mail: pip@lgbt.foundation

If you would like more information on testing for STI’s & HIV go here: http://lgbt.foundation/testing