Prevention of HPV-related oral cancer: assessing dentists' readiness

Public Health. 2014 Mar;128(3):231-8. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2013.12.002. Epub 2014 Mar 3.


Objectives: Epidemiological research indicates an association between the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) with a subset of oral cancers (OC). Dentists may play a role in primary prevention of HPV-related OC by discussing the HPV vaccine with patients. This study assessed dentists' readiness to discuss the HPV vaccine with female patients.

Study design: Cross-sectional web-based survey.

Methods: A web-based survey based on the Transtheoretical Model was administered among Florida dentists (n = 210).

Results: The majority of participants (97%) fell into the precontemplation and contemplation stages of readiness to discuss the HPV vaccine with patients. Perceived role and liability were determined to be predictive of dentists in contemplation stage as opposed to those in precontemplation (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Findings suggest liability and perceived role as processes of change necessary to guide dentists to primary prevention of HPV-related OC despite high levels of knowledge. As public awareness of HPV-related OC increases, dentists may become more involved in primary prevention. Results of the current study may assist in developing intervention strategies for engaging dentists in discussing the HPV vaccine with patients.

Keywords: HPV vaccination; Oral cancer; Prevention; Public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Communication*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dentist-Patient Relations*
  • Dentists / psychology*
  • Dentists / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mouth Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / virology*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Primary Prevention


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines