What is a dental dam and how do you use it?

Over the last few weeks we focused on period sex and the term dental dam was mentioned a few times. But what exactly is a dental dam and why is it important to use?

Dental dams are made from latex or polyurethane sheets and are used as a protective barrier during oral sex. It prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections between the mouth, anus or vagina. Before oral sex takes place, the dental dam must be placed over the vulva or anus so that the mouth doesn’t have direct contact with the body or bodily fluids.

Dental dams are quite thin and flexible, and aren’t uncomfortable at all (or at least they shouldn’t be). They should only be used once, and when you’re done, it should be thrown away in a bin and never flushed down a toilet.

Dental dams were originally used by dentists (which is where the name comes from) to help isolate a specific part of the mouth. However, they quickly became popular in the 90’s for safe oral sex. The dam must be kept in place by either the person performing oral sex or the receiver. If it breaks, moves or tears in any way it’s best to stop and replace it. It’s important to always check the expiry date of the dam and check for any tears or punctures before using it. Lube can be used while using a dental dam, just make sure it’s not an oil-based one because they can break the dam. Water-based lubes are the best option. Dental dam’s should never be stretched or pulled because they can break easily.

Dental dam’s can be bought online, at pharmacies or they can be made from condoms. To make a dental dam from a condom, firstly remove it from the packaging, then cut off the tip of the condom with scissors. Afterwards, cut off the rubber base. Lastly, cut the condom from the tip to the base lengthwise so that it creates a flat square sheet that can fit over a vulva or anus. Just make sure that you don’t cut any holes or tears while using the scissors and that the condom hasn’t expired. For more on how to safely make a dental dam using a condom you can watch this tutorial: https://bit.ly/349sFxQ