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January JADA looks at dentists' knowledge of HPV, oropharyngeal cancer

January 03, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

The more dental health professionals know about human papillomavirus prevention activities, such as the HPV vaccine, the better suited they are to be a "line of protection against HPV and cancer," according to research published in the January issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

For the cover article, "Assessing Dentists' Human Papillomavirus-Related Health Literacy for Oropharyngeal Cancer Prevention," authors conducted focus groups with dental professionals to assess their health literacy regarding the connection of HPV and oropharyngeal cancer.

Image of January 2018 JADA coverResearchers found that knowledge varied among participants, though "dentists and dental hygienists in our study clearly saw that they had an important role in the prevention of HPV-related oral cancers," said Ellen Daley, Ph.D., an author of the article and a professor and associate director for women's health at the Chiles Center for Women, Children and Families at the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

The findings "indicate areas for interventions, including creating awareness of trusted informational sources, improving HPV knowledge, understanding the multiple appraisal factors and enhancing communication skills of dentists with patients," according to the article.

Increased education and training materials can help the profession "become, in essence, the next line of protection against HPV and cancer," said Dr. Daley.

The full article is available at

About 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancers in the U.S. are cased by HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2016, the ADA and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced a collaboration to focus on increasing HPV vaccinations (and tobacco cessation) for oropharyngeal cancer prevention.

Other highlights of the January issue of JADA include a summary of evidence for incisal preparation designs of ceramic veneers; a review and meta-analysis looking at benefits and harms of capnography during procedures involving moderate sedation; and a step-by-step description of a procedure for relining an implant-retained overdenture.

Every month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of the print publication.