Human papillomavirus and oral cancer: a primer for dental public health professionals Academic Article uri icon


  • There is strong evidence for causal association between human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, evidence of association of HPV and oropharyngeal cancer is beginning to mount.To review the HPV-oral cancer literature for a comprehensive assessment of the issues involved.Literature search conducted using PubMed, Google Scholar and Google search engine.Both available HPV vaccines are efficacious and safe although expensive. Policy for mandatory HPV vaccination for cervical prevention is mired in political issues stemming from negative cost-effectiveness balance. Dental professionals are not ready to discuss the role of HPV vaccine in cancer prevention. This review discusses the impact of HPV on cervical cancer, transmission of HPV among humans, impact of HPV in oral health, and its plausible role in oral and oropharyngeal cancer, prevention of HPV transmission, available vaccines against HPV, testing, cost, policy and use of HPV vaccines internationally and dentists readiness related to HPV associated health communication.Given the mounting literature on the association between HPV and oropharyngeal cancer, the dental community must be prepared to answer patients' HPV-related questions and to educate patients about the role of HPV as a risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

publication date

  • 2015