North Carolina dental hygienists' oral cancer knowledge and opinions: implications for education

J Cancer Educ. Fall 2006;21(3):151-6. doi: 10.1207/s15430154jce2103_13.


Background: Appropriately trained dental hygienists can participate in oral cancer (OC) control.

Method: We assessed knowledge of risk factors, diagnostic procedures, and opinions regarding OC education among 651 dental hygienists practicing in North Carolina using a mail survey. We constructed regression models of factors influencing high knowledge levels.

Results: Most correctly identified tobacco and alcohol use as OC risk factors, and 52% felt their knowledge of OC was current; however, we identified gaps. Diagnostic knowledge was highest for those who were recent graduates or received continuing education in the last 5 years; 96% were interested in future continuing education.

Conclusion: Increased OC education content in dental hygiene curricula and training programs for practicing hygienists is needed to enhance early detection of OC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Clinical Competence
  • Data Collection
  • Dental Hygienists / education*
  • Dental Hygienists / statistics & numerical data*
  • Education, Dental, Continuing
  • Female
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Mouth Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Mouth Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Mouth Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Needs Assessment
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Primary Prevention / education
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors