Several systemic conditions, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), have visible symptoms in the mouth. Can you get chlamydia in your mouth? The simple answer is, yes. Many STDs can manifest within the mouth. Chlamydia is a disease that affects several parts of the reproductive and digestive systems and can lead to permanent physical damage if left untreated.
Incidence and Symptoms of Chlamydia
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chlamydia is an STD caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is generally transmitted through sex. The CDC also says chlamydia is the most commonly occurring STD in the United States, with nearly 1.6 million cases diagnosed in 2016, in more women than men.
In some cases, chlamydia has no symptoms. In others, systemic conditions vary by gender. Females may have vaginal burning or discharge and males may have penile burning or discharge as a result of their condition. Chlamydia may also affect the rectum, causing pain, discharge and anal bleeding. The presence of these symptoms is common, therefore when noticed it is important to get laboratory testing to obtain a diagnosis. Chlamydia can also permanently damage the sexual organs, preventing women from becoming pregnant or increasing health risks during delivery if untreated.
Can You Get Chlamydia in Your Mouth?
If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to secondary infections within the mouth from open wounds. Secondary infections can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, gum damage and additional pain. Chlamydia may put a patient at higher risk of further bacterial or viral infection. According to the CDC, untreated chlamydia decreases immune responsiveness and increases the risk for HIV/AIDS due to chlamydial tears and lacerations in the skin that allow viruses to enter the body more easily.
Health providers use laboratory testing to screen for chlamydia. Lab cultures can reveal the presence of bacteria in a collected sample. Since chlamydia is often asymptomatic (without indication or significant symptoms), routine testing is recommended for anyone who is sexually active.
For all suspected oral lesions, seek care from a dental professional at the earliest sign to have your condition properly assessed. Working together, your medical and dental teams are experts at identifying, treating and preventing oral and systemic disease.