Identifying the Utility of Dental Providers in Human Papillomavirus Prevention Efforts: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2015–2018

Published 12/15/2021

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common infection that causes all cervical cancers and 70% of oropharyngeal cancers. HPV vaccines are available and effective — they have the potential to prevent 90% of HPV-related cancers. However, only half of adolescents ages 13–17 are vaccinated.  

The primary aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of HPV unvaccinated adolescents and young adults who had a dental visit, including those who did not have a medical visit. The findings highlight the importance of utilizing dental providers in HPV primary prevention efforts, including counseling, primary care referral, and vaccine administration.  

Key findings include: 

  • Having a dental visit in the last year increased the odds of being vaccinated for HPV. 
  • Dentists see a significant number of adolescents and young adults who are unvaccinated for HPV and could serve as an access point for HPV vaccine delivery. 
  • The authors estimate that more than 3.6 million adolescents and young adults who do not see a medical provider could potentially access the HPV vaccine from their dentist. 

Read the article abstract (subscription required to access full text) 

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