What are Dental Dams?


If you always wanted to try oral sex but is turned off by the smell, taste or sexually transmitted infections that you might encounter then dental dams might be the solution.

Dental dams also known as oral dams are barrier protectors that protects transmission of infections during oral sex.  They are placed on the vagina/vulva or anus prior to the sexual act. If you or your sexual partner have a Sexually Transmitted Infection it can be transmitted during oral sex, therefore you need to use dental dam.

Oral sex involves using the mouth, lips, or tongue for stimulating the penis (fellatio), the vagina (cunnilingus), or the anus (anilingus). Although most people don’t admit to engaging oral sex, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) 85% of adult  between the ages of 18-44 years engage in at least one of the above form of oral sex. However, most do not use barrier protection.


Dental Dam Material


Similar to male and female condoms, dental dams are made of thin stretchy latex. If you your partner is allergic to latex then dam made out polyurethane material  is available.

How Effective are Dental Dams?

The dental dam’s sole purpose is to prevent transmission of infections.  Some individual believe  oral sex is considered a low-risk activity, but this is not true. Using protection such as physical barriers is important.

Oral sex can transmit oral, respiratory, and genital infections from one area of the body to another, especially if there is a cut in the mouth, in case of bleeding gums, lip sores, or broken skin within the genitalia. These underlying risk factors accelerate the occurrence of transmission of infections into the circulation.

Public health officials believe that dental dams meet the safety standards for sexually transmitted infection prevention, although no evidence exists on whether they are permeable to STI pathogens.

However, it is likely that they are least as impermeable as male or female condoms. Consequently, it is likely that dams prevent the transmission of enteric pathogens during cunnilingus (oral-vaginal contact) and during rimming (oral-anal contact).

STIs such as herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, or HIV can be transmitted via oral sex.  Additionally, the transmission of germs such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) is possible if they come into contact with vagina, vulva, and anus or infectious semen/ vaginal fluid.

Depending on the type of contact, you can get STI infections in the throat, mouth, anus, rectum, genitals, or the urinary tract. Therefore, it is important to protect against the spread of STIs by using dental dams correctly and consistently. Ensure that the dam covers the entire area, outbreak, or lesion.

Facts About Contracting STDs via Oral Sex


  • Most STDs can be transmitted through oral sex
  • Dental Dams can prevent transmission of STD infection
  • Although oral sex has a lower risk of spreading HIV than other forms of sex, repeated unprotected exposures can lead to increased risks of transmission.
  • You can get an STD in the mouth or throat from giving oral sex to a partner with a genital or anal infection or a partner with an infected penis
  • You can get an STD on the penis, vagina, anus, or rectum from a partner with mouth or throat infection during oral sex
  • It is possible to get an STD in more than one area of the body for example in the throat and genitalia
  • STD can be spread even when an infected person does not show any signs or symptoms
  • Some STDs can spread throughout the body of the infected person

When to Use Dental Dams


Dental dams should be used during oral sex, especially when engaging in oral sexual activity with a new or unfamiliar sexual partner or when engaging in sexual activities with multiple sexual partners. The dams should be used consistently and correctly and be worn before sex even in oral-anal contact as fecal matter can be present on the anus even after thorough cleaning or in absence of STIs risk.


How to use a Dental Dam


  1. Remove the dam from the package with caution
  2. Unroll and place on flat surface with lubricated side on vagina or anus
  3. Keep dental in place throughout entire act
  4. Hold in place if necessary
  5. Touch only the side with your body secretions
  6. Pull up and fold in to remove
  7. Discard after each use

How to Ensure Effectiveness


  • Check for tears and holes in package
  • Check for tears and holes on dam
  • Use only water or silicone based lubricant
  • Store in a cool dry place
  • Do not reuse
  • Make sure anus or vagina is free from debris (hair).
  • Check expiration date

DIY Dental Dam


Use A Condom

  1. Use a condom that is not lubricated with spermicide to avoid irritation in the mouth.
  2. Cut off the reservoir tip
  3. Cut from bottom to top
  4. On roll condom
  5. Form large square

Use Latex Gloves (Use Large XL gloves)

  1. Cut off the fingers
  2. Cut down on the size that had the pinky finger
  3. Open it up
  4. Should form a large square or rectangle


Cut off all fingers except thumb and follow then follow steps 2 to 4.  You can place your tongue in the thumb hole during the act.

Saran Wrap ( Non Porous)

  1. Unroll and cut to desired size
  2. Use only water or silicone base lubes

Pros and Cons of Dental Dams



  • Easy to carry and make
  • Cheap
  • Comes in differ flavors
  • Protects from smell, taste, hair


  • Difficult to find in stores
  • Latex allergy
  • Only made for oral sex

Available Sizes


Dental dams come in a variety of sizes and flavors, therefore, you can find one that suits your preference. Ensure to buy one that offers adequate coverage and a taste you will enjoy.

Dos With Dental Dams


  • Do use a new dental dam each time you have oral sex
  • Do read usage instructions on the package and check expiration date
  • Do make sure there are no defects or tears on the dental dam
  • Do put on a dental dam before any form of oral sex
  • Do use a dental dam from the start to finish of the sexual act
  • Do use a water-based or silicone-based lubricant to prevent tear/ damage
  • Do store your dental dam in a cool and dry place
  • Do make sure the dental dam remains in place during oral sex
  • Do hold in place if necessary
  • Do touch only your side of the dental dam when in use

Dont’s with Dental Dams


  • Don’t reuse a dental dam
  • Do not stretch a dental dam it can cause a tear
  • Do not use spermicides or nonoxynol-9 products as they increase the risks of mouth or throat irritation
  • Do not use expired dental dams
  • Do not use damaged dams
  • Do not use oil-based lubricants such as baby oil, petroleum jelly, lotions, or cooking oil as lubricants
  • Do not flip over for reuse
  • Do not move the barrier back and forth between the vagina and anus, it can lead an infection
  • Do not use a dental dam that was in contact with cornstarch, starch can lead to vaginal infection
  • Do not open the package of a dental dam until you are ready to use it
  • Do not use a dental dam that is more than 5 years old
  • Do not flush dental dams down the toilet, they may clog it
  • Do not use on other body parts

Other Ways to Reduce Risk of Transmission During Oral Sex


  1. Maintain good oral health (fix decay tooth , gum disease or bleeding gums)
  2. Avoid oral sex with sores on or  in mouth
  3. Avoid oral sex with sores on genitals
  4. Avoid mouth exposure to ejaculate



While oral sex is a good way to prevent pregnancy, it is not a good way to prevent contracting STDs. Because most people have both oral,  anal and vaginal sex it is hard to determine which one is safer and carries less risk. The only way to avoid STDs is to avoid sex or stay in a monogamous relationship.

Nonetheless, using a dental dam is very easy and is a good tool if you want to experiment with oral sex. If you always wanted to try out oral sex but was hesitant due to the smell and taste of either the vagina or anus, then using dental dams might be the solution.










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