Warts Types Oral

You might find oral warts anywhere in your mouth or on your lips. They can be small and smooth or dome-shaped, or they might look like a cauliflower. They can grow individually or in small groups, and can be white or the color of your mouth.

Oral warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. More than 100 HPV strains have been identified, several of which have been found to cause oral warts, including:

  • HPV 2
  • HPV 6
  • HPV 11
  • HPV 13
  • HPV 16
  • HPV 32.

HPV infection may be present long before oral wart symptoms develop. As long as the virus is present, oral warts can return after treatment.

Oral Wart Symptoms

Although your mouth might feel sore as they develop, oral warts are not usually painful unless you bite them or irritate them with acidic foods. In some cases, oral warts cause problems with swallowing.

See a doctor if you experience any oral wart symptoms or notice unusual growths in your mouth.

Who Gets Oral Warts?

Oral warts are more common in people with HIV or weakened immune systems. Patients who have recently had antiretroviral therapy are also more likely to get oral warts.

Oral warts are spread by kissing and oral-genital contact. The more sexual partners you have, the greater your chances of contracting some form of HPV infection.

As oral sex has become more common, so have oral warts. To prevent the spread of oral warts, use condoms and dental dams during oral sex. Be aware, though, that these devices are not guaranteed to protect against HPV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Oral Wart Removal

Do not attempt to treat oral wart symptoms on your own. Obviously, common self-treatment procedures for warts like lotions and duct tape won’t work in the mouth area.

Seeing a doctor for oral wart removal is of utmost importance because of the link between HPV type 16 and oral cancer. HPV 16 is only one of the HPV strains that causes oral warts, so your doctor will check for unusual appearance or rapid growth. A biopsy can rule out the possibility of cancer before your doctor decides on the best course of action for oral wart treatment in your case.

Common practices for oral wart removal include:

  • Cryotherapy, or freezing
  • Interpheron treatments
  • Laser surgery
  • Surgery.

Warts found on the lips or the corners of the mouth—extraoral lesions—are usually treated with topical preparations. Most surgical approaches to oral wart treatment require three or four visits.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control. (2009). Genital HPV infection: CDC fact sheet. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm.

Information Genital Warts.com. (n.d.). What are oral warts? Retrieved April 28, 2010, from: http://www.informationgenitalwarts.com/oralwarts/.

Oralwarts.net. (2009). Oral warts. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from: http://www.oralwarts.net/.

The Oral Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). The human papilloma virus. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from: http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/humanpapillomavirus.htm.

Warts Information Center. (2009). Oral warts. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from: http://www.warts.org/oral-warts.html.