Oral sex and mouth care
Oral sex and STIs
Oral sex is when someone stimulates the genitals of another person with their mouth. It is important to practise safe oral sex to prevent catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
If you develop mouth sores after giving oral sex, it is important to seek medical advice.
Oral sex is one of the most common ways that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed on. STIs that can be caught through oral sex are:
- genital warts
- hepatitis (A, B and C)
If you suspect that you may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to visit your doctor, local family planning clinic or sexual health clinic, as soon as possible.
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You can prevent catching STIs during oral sex by making sure that your partner wears a condom or a dental dam.
A dental dam, which is a thin piece of latex, can also be used during oral sex to prevent the spread of infection. It can be placed over the genitals or anus (back passage) before giving oral sex. It creates a barrier that prevents bodily fluids being passed between people and reduces your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.
If you give oral sex, make sure you don’t have sores, wounds, gum disease, ulcers, cuts, herpes or infections in your mouth. It’s important to make sure your mouth and gums are in good condition before you give oral sex.
Another way of reducing the risk of an STI is by not allowing your partner to ejaculate (come) into your mouth.
CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.
Looking after your mouth
Here is some advice on how to look after your mouth:
- You should try to limit the number of sugary foods and drinks that you have. Have them as an occasional treat.
- Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to reduce the build-up of bacteria in your mouth. Gently brush your gums and tongue as well.
- If you wear dentures, make sure they are cleaned properly and that the skin under the dentures is also clean. Rinse your mouth out after every meal.
- Smoking can also encourage oral infections. If you smoke, try to cut down or quit smoking.
- It’s important to visit your dentist at least once a year. Consider having your teeth cleaned occasionally by a hygienist.
- Avoid oral sex if you have sores or ulcers in your mouth or around your lips.
If you are in pain, get advice on medicines you can take.
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Last reviewed: October 2021