What Is Palatal Petechiae? Viral TikTok Claims Dentists Can Tell if You’ve Had Oral Sex
But that shouldn't stop you from scheduling your bi-annual cleaning.
TikTok is full of stuff you never knew you needed to know—like curling your hair with a bathrobe sash or getting rid of stubborn acne with hydrocolloid bandages. Now, TikTokkers are revealing that your dentist may know more about your sexual health than you may expect.
According to a new massively-viral TikTok video shared by user @dentite, a dentist in Michigan whose real name is Huzefa Kapadia, dentists can actually know when you've recently performed oral sex—in the form of a blow job—according to the inside of your mouth. So far, the video has gotten 4.3 million likes and 34.8 million views.
Kapadia shared this news in response to another TikTok, shared by user @cianmcbrien, who came out of nowhere with this claim: "Just found out the dentist can find out [whether] someone has given [head] or not." And it turns out, he was right. "I get this question a lot. And yeah, we know. We know," replied Kapadia.
In a follow-up video, Kapadia explained that when an object constantly hits the soft palate in your mouth (he used the example of lollipops, but it seems TikTok users were more focused on penises in this situation) it can cause a specific type of bruising or irritation. "Palatal petechiae. This is what it's called," he said.
Bringing it back to lollipops, this is how Kapadia explained what happens: "If you like, let's say, sucking on a lollipop. One or two here or there, not a big deal. But let's say you like to suck on multiple, multiple, multiple, multiple lollipops all the time…you got a problem."
Another TikTok dentist named Brad Podray (aka, user @thyrants) also weighed in on this topic in his own viral video. "Sometimes we can tell," he said in the video. "It's usually bruising on the soft palate called petechiae. But unless the patient's really young or shows signs of abuse, we don't care."
Podray referenced a 2018 case report, in BMJ Case Reports—fittingly called "Fellatio-associated erythema of the soft palate: an incidental finding during a routine dental evaluation"—which details the story of a 47-year-old man who showed up at the dentist with a lesion on his soft palate of his mouth. "We found the lesion to be associated with the practice of fellatio," the authors concluded, before recommending that doctors consider the sex act as a "potential cause of palatal lesions."
Podray tells Health that he decided to speak up after several people tagged him in the original video. "I felt like it was my responsibility to provide a response," he says. "I made the post because I wanted to educate people about this and make sure that young people familiar with it aren't embarrassed to see the dentist."
He continued, "People already fear dental appointments and I didn't want this to become an overblown new area of anxiety." Podray says that he just "hashed together" the TikTok during a few minutes of downtime at his office and "it just happened to blow up."
Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD, dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, tells Health that dentists see this "periodically," although it's not overly common. "It can range from physical bruising to petechiae—little burst blood vessels from suction," he says. Podray also shared that it usually looks like "some light red bruising towards the back of the soft palate."
Also important: Any instance of palatal petechiae won't come as a total surprise. According to Dr. Wolff, you'll have at least some level of awareness that this has happened to you, since you can end up with some "soreness" near the back of the roof of your mouth.
And good news, per Wolff: If you do end up with palatal petechiae, you won't have it forever. "It heals like any other bruise," he says, adding, "it could last for days to a week or so." It also doesn't lead to permanent damage.
While this is something that dentists notice, Podray stresses that it's really not a biggie, especially if you're not a child or don't seem to be abused. "Dentists don't go around specifically looking for it or looking to judge anyone," he says—so definitely don't let this deter you from your bi-annual cleaning or other dental procedures.
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