Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Oral sex and mouth care

5-minute read

Key facts

  • Oral sex is when you stimulate a person's genitals with your mouth.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes can be passed on during oral sex.
  • If you get mouth sores after oral sex it's important to get advice from your doctor.
  • Avoid oral sex if you have mouth sores or mouth infections.
  • Maintain good mouth health by avoiding sugary foods, brushing your teeth daily, not smoking and visiting the dentist regularly.

What is oral sex?

Oral sex is when someone stimulates the genitals of another person with their mouth. It is important to practise safe oral sex to help prevent catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

How is mouth care linked with oral sex?

Oral sex is a common way that STIs are passed on. Examples of STIs that you can catch through oral sex include:

Why is it important to practice good mouth care?

Good mouth care helps your general health and also lowers your chances of passing STIs such as HIV.

Here are some tips on how to look after your mouth:

  • Try to avoid or limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks that you have. Have them as an occasional (not daily) treat.
  • Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to lower the build-up of bacteria in your mouth. Gently brush your gums and tongue as well.
  • If you wear dentures, make sure you clean them properly and that the skin under the dentures is also clean. Rinse your mouth out regularly.
  • 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. You should have your teeth cleaned regularly by a hygienist.
  • Avoid oral sex if you have sores or ulcers in your mouth or around your lips.

How can I prevent STIs?

You can reduce the risk of catching STIs during oral sex by making sure that your partner wears a condom or a dental dam. You can also have regular STI checks.

A dental dam is a thin piece of latex that can prevent the spread of infection during oral sex. It can be placed over the vagina or anus before giving oral sex. It forms a barrier that can stop body fluids passing between people and lowers your risk of getting a STI.

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.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see your doctor if:

  • you develop mouth sores after giving oral sex
  • you think that you may have a STI

You can also visit a local family planning clinic or sexual health clinic in your area.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR — Preparing for an appointment? Use the Question Builder for general tips on what to ask your GP or specialist.

Resources and support

If you have questions, you can call the Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.

You can also call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria). A registered nurse is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Play safe has information on safe sex, STIs and where you can get an STI check up.

Looking for information for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people?

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has sexual health information for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

Do you prefer to read in languages other than English?

The NSW Government has information on safe sex and how to avoid STI and HIV in other languages.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2023

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Dam - Body Talk

The dam is a thin sheet of latex rubber or silicone that some people choose to use during oral sex (mouth to vagina or mouth to anus)

Read more on Body Talk website

Here's exactly when you should be using condoms

Condoms give the best protection against STIs. You should use a condom every single time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Read more on NSW Health website

Gonorrhoea | Family Planning NSW

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex, or by the fingers and hands from the genitals to the eyes. It is less common in the general community than other STIs such as chlamydia. Gonorrhoea can infect the throat, rectum (back passage), urethra (urine passage), cervix (neck of the womb) and eyes.

Read more on Family Planning Australia website

Could you have an STI? - Play Safe

If you’ve ever had vaginal, oral, or anal sex then there is a chance that you could have an STI. Using condoms and getting tested every 6-12 months is the only way to reduce the risk.

Read more on NSW Health website

Safe sex and condoms

Safe sex and condoms - what you need to know to make sure you are having safe sex

Read more on SA Health website

Safe sex: Your best defence - Body Talk

The best way to reduce your chance of getting an STI is to have ‘safe sex’

Read more on Body Talk website

Male (External) Condom - Body Talk

The male (external) condom is a thin latex rubber or polyurethane (a type of soft plastic) covering which is rolled onto an erect (hard) penis before having sex

Read more on Body Talk website

Lubricant - Body Talk

Lube is a slippery liquid used during sex to make everything nice and wet

Read more on Body Talk website

Safe Sex | How to Stay Safe - Sexual Health Victoria

Using condoms is a really important part of safe sex, but it doesn't stop there. Safe sex is about having sex when you're ready and having sex that's enjoyable,

Read more on Sexual Health Victoria website

Genital herpes transmission -

Genital herpes is transmitted (spread) by direct skin-to-skin contact, especially during intimate sexual contact, with a person who is infected with the herpes simplex virus.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.