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Objectives/Aims: Today the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infects nearly 14 million people each year in the United States alone. HPV is responsible for several cancers, including oropharyngeal, which is currently on the rise. Each year an estimated 53,000 cases of oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed, with 70% of the cases related to HPV. The significance of educating dental providers and patients of the correlations between HPV and oropharyngeal cancers involves increased prevention strategies in dental practices. The aim is to begin offering multi-level education to adolescents’ parent’s in routine dental care visits, in order to provide an innovative approach to reduce HPV-related cancers.

Methods: A sequence of MeSH terms were used to search the literature which included “HPV prevention strategies”, “Dental hygienist” and “HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer.” Results were refined to studies published within the last five years, excluding other countries outside the United States, and was centered to primary research sources.

Results: The Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been shown to increase the rates of several cancers outside the cervical region, including cancers of the oropharynx. Evidence based research has discovered HPV vaccines that protect against strains of cervical cancer are likely to have the same effect in preventing HPV infections in the oropharynx. Researching the current data from The American Dental Education Association and PubMed Database, studies suggest that dental providers often feel uncomfortable providing HPV prevention with patients due to barriers: age, sexual orientation, and patient reactions. Dental providers should strongly consider implementing HPV prevention behaviors in dental practices to include HPV education, recommending the vaccine and referring patients for the vaccination.

Conclusion: Compiling appropriate training along with refining dental providers self-efficacy to communicate HPV prevention strategies through continuing education. Along with expertise guided training in dental hygiene curricula could facilitate the process of reducing HPV-related cancers in the oral cavity.

Publication Date



Dental hygiene, HPV, adolescents, vaccination, prevention, education


Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Student Scholarship

Date of Submission

April 2020

The Role of Dental Hygienist in HPV Prevention and Education in Parents of Adolescents