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Dental Dams

Dental dams are a great way to protect yourself when you have oral sex (go down on someone).

Dental dams can be used for both cunnilingus (eating out a vulva or vagina*), or analingus (rimming). These squares of latex can be your best friend when it comes to preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like herpes and HPV.

Dental dams are easy to use and can also be made from condoms and plastic wrap.

What is a dental dam?

  • A dental dam is a thin, flexible square of material (usually latex) that forms a physical barrier between your lips/mouth/tongue and your partner’s vulva/vagina/anus.

Why should I use a dental dam?

  • Dental dams can protect you from STIs because they minimize skin-to-skin contact and prevent the exchange of bodily fluids.

How do I use a dental dam?

  • Use the square of latex to cover the body part that you are going to be performing oral sex on.
  • Before you lay down the dam, you may want to add some water-based lubricant to the other person’s skin. This will make the dam feel more natural.
  • It will feel better if you take some time to mold the dental dam to the shape of the body part it is covering before starting (for example, tuck it into the folds of the vulva).

Where can I buy dental dams and how much do they cost?

  • Dental dams are usually around $2-$3 each, but unfortunately they can be hard to find.
  • Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Health Services has some dams that are available for free.
  • Student health services at colleges and universities may have dental dams to give away or sell at a reduced cost.
  • Dental dams are available at some specialty condom stores and sex shops in Toronto, such as  Good For Her and The Condom Shack.

How do I make my own dental dams?

  • Cut off the tip and elastic ring of an unused condom and then cut down along its length. This will produce a rectangle of latex/polyurethane that can be used just like a dental dam.
  • Non-microwaveable plastic wrap can also be cut into dental dams.
  • If you don’t like the taste of latex or plastic wrap consider using a flavoured condom or flavoured lube.

If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]

*We know that these aren’t the words everyone uses for their bodies (eg. trans folks), and support you using the language that feels best for you.

Last Edited: May 2020