What Your Dentist Can Tell About Your Sex Life

A recent TikTok video went viral with the following message: Your dentist can tell if you've performed fellatio. Needless to say, panic has ensued. Who wants their dentist to know such private info? And how exactly can he or she tell? 

Of course, no one loves going to the dentist, and this little nugget of info may add another reason to an already long list of why you want to avoid that darn chair. But before you cancel your next appointment, consider the following? 

In the TikTok video, a dentist in Michigan acknowledges that the claim made in a previous video — dentists can tell when a patient has recently performed fellatio just by looking in their mouth — is indeed true (per Health). In a follow-up video, he explains that palatal petechiae, small round lesions or bruising at the back of the roof of the mouth (aka, the soft palate), result from prolonged sucking. He's not the first to make that association. Back in 1928, the first report of palatal petechiae resulting from oral sex on a penis was published in a French medical journal (per Snopes). Since then, there have been more reports linking fellatio with back-of-the-mouth lesions. In 2013, a paper summarizing previous related literature suggested that "direct and forceful contact of the distal penis against the palate may result in mucosal injury." It appears both sucking and the mechanics of fellatio can lead to soft palate bruising.

Spoiler Alert: Your dentist really doesn't care

If you have performed fellatio recently, don't assume your private activities will be announced by your mouth to your dentist. Chances are, you won't develop palatal petechiae anyway. But even if you do develop lesions, it doesn't mean your dentist will assume you've been up to something naughty. Lesions on the soft palate can also be caused by a variety of medical conditions; by repeated coughing, sneezing, or vomiting; or when a person suffering from an itchy throat clicks the tongue against the soft palate to stop the discomfort, per Registered Dental Hygienist.

Palatal petechiae are usually asymptomatic and resolve in a few days to a week. But if soft palate lesions are in your mouth during your next cleaning, your dentist may consider fellatio as the cause. Will they ask about your recent sexual history? Possibly. Experts in the spread of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) have encouraged dentists to broach the topic of sexual activity with patients, as a means to help prevent HPV infection, which is transmissible through oral sex and can cause cancer of the throat, tongue, or tonsils (per NYPost). Although HPV may not be what you're currently discussing, your dentist may bring up recent sexual activity, just to give you, ahem, a "heads up." And if they do, be assured they're not going to judge you or make you feel uncomfortable — and they're certainly not going to care what you do in private, so long as you do it safely.