This Is What A Dental Dam Is, And It’s Not For Your Teeth
When it comes to condoms we are all familiar with its wonders; protecting you from STIs and unwanted pregnancies. They come in a variety of sizes, flavours and textures, making them the ultimate bedroom accessory. And when you’re receiving oral sex, putting on a condom can greatly reduce your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). But what about when you’re going down on a woman or rimming? Well, that’s where the dental dam comes in.
WTF Is A Dental Dam?
You’ll be forgiven for thinking that dental dams are something that you’d only encounter at the dental office. And to be honest, you wouldn’t be 100% wrong. According to The Verge, originally invented in 1864, the “rubber dam” (as it was called) was used at the dentist to isolate a tooth from the rest of the oral cavity. But it didn’t stop people from putting the dam to much better use more than a century later. Today, a dental dam is a rectangular piece of material, usually made of latex or polyurethane (the same material as condoms). They are used to protect you from STIs that can be spread through oral sex. These STIs include :
- Oral herpes
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts (which are caused by HPV)
- Hepatitis A
Why Use One?
It is worth noting that it’s rare for certain STIs, like HIV, to transmit orally, but others are a bit more common. There have been numerous studies linking oral HPV to an increased risk of mouth and throat cancer, which can be life-threatening. Using a dental dam while performing cunnilingus can reduce your risk of HPV transmission, but with that being said, the prevalence of oropharyngeal cancer in men is only 0.7 %.
How Do You Use It?
Basically, you just hold the rectangular piece of latex against the vulva or anus and proceed with business as usual. Besides protecting you against STIs, it can also protect you from germs such as E.coli and Shigella, which can cause a host of health issues. Dental dams aren’t widely available in South Africa, but you can make your own.
The DIY Dental Dam
- Carefully open a condom package, remove the condom and unroll.
- Cut off the tip
- Cut the condom lengthwise down the middle.
And there you go, a homemade dental dam! Just be sure not use a condom that contains spermicide, you do not want that taste in your mouth.
If you’re not feeling up to making your own dental dam, you can buy these flavoured ones.