Ask the Sexpert

Ask the Sexpert

February 10th, 2012 // 7:19 pm @

Q.  How do you use a dental dam?

Answer courtesy of

A.  A dental dam is a small sheet of latex that acts as a barrier between the vagina or anus and the mouth. Dental dams get their name because they are used during dental surgery such as root canals. Due to the possible infectious secretions from both the vagina and the anus, the dental dam is becoming a popular safer sex tool. With the introduction of different colors, shapes and sizes, manufacturers are adding some exciting changes to what once was sterile translucent-white latex. If used properly, latex dental dams are effective against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.

How to use a dental dam:

  • Use a New Dental Dam Every Time – Use a new dental dambefore each sex act. Be sure the dam is free of holes or breakage. You can check the dam before you use it by holding it up to light or seeing if water is able to pass through it. Avoid using oil-based lubricants, which can break down the latex and may cause leaks. Finally, ensure that only one side of the dam comes in contact with the genitals, and that the dam is used only once. Make sure you use a brand new dental dam each time you engage in intimate relations with your partner.
  • Using the Dental Dam– Hold the latex dam over the vulva or anus during oral stimulation, making sure that the latex remains in place. Always keep the same side against the body. Do not share or reuse.
  • Lubricants – Do not use oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline petroleum jelly, mineral oil, vegetable oil or cold cream as these can cause the breakdown of the latex in the dental dam. This may result in leakage. Undercover Condoms has a selection of dental dam-safe lubricants.
  • Dental Dam Storage– Store at room temperature. Do not use if the dental dam appears brittle.
  • Dental Dam Effectiveness – No prophylactic can guarantee 100% effectiveness, but if properly used dental dams will help reduce the risk of HIV infection and many other sexually transmitted diseases.

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