Infection with HPV or any human papiloma virus is very common. Though usually related to sexually transmitted diseases, these viruses can infect both the mouth’s skin and mucosa, being transmitted through any direct contact.
The presence of the human papiloma virus in the mouth usually passes unnoticed, as it does not cause any change. Nevertheless, in some cases warts might appear – these are white or pink lumps with uneven surface, which do not cause any symptoms but might bother, for example when chewing. Although there are more than 50 types of HPV, only some, more precisely type 16 can, in some cases, be connected to tonsil cancer, while its connection to mouth cancer is still disputed. Changes caused by some other types of HPV are thus mostly benign (papillomas, condyloma, warts).
Due to the typical appearance of growths caused by HPV they suffice to diagnose infection, while in the case of suspected infection swab analysis is used for confirmation, though this is rarely done in the absence of symptoms.
Lesions caused by HPV infection can be removed surgically, under local anaesthesia, or by electrocautery, excision, cryotherapy or laser, while it is also possible to use some chemical methods or antiviral drugs.