USA dental health providers’ role in HPV vaccine communication and HPV-OPC protection: a systematic review

Kimberly K. Walker, Richard D. Jackson, Silvia Sommariva, Malinee Neelamegam, Jill Desch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background. Improving human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination coverage in the US will require healthcare providers to recommend the vaccine more effectively. To inform quality improvement efforts, we systematically reviewed studies of dental provider communication about HPV vaccination. Methods. We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, ScienceDirect, PsycINFO and JSTOR in August 2018 to identify studies of dental provider knowledge, perceived role and communication about HPV, HPV vaccination and HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC). Results. We identified 10 qualitative and quantitative studies. Results of the primarily descriptive studies showed that although there were some deficiencies in knowledge about HPV-related outcomes and its effect on the male population, most providers understand HPV as a sexually transmitted infection and know the HPV vaccine is available, yet many are not discussing the HPV-OPC link or recommending vaccination. Providers were less often to recommend HPV vaccination if they were uncomfortable discussing sex, perceived parents as hesitant, or believed patients to be low risk. Studies reported mixed results on providers’ perceived role in expanded HPV vaccination and HPV-OPC education, but indicated support for the role of professional organizations in promoting awareness. Conclusion. Interventions are needed to help dental providers perceive their role to deliver effective recommendations within the complex communication environment surrounding HPV vaccination and HPV-OPC education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1863-1869
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2019


  • dental professionals
  • human papilloma vaccine
  • human papilloma virus
  • human papilloma virus knowledge
  • oropharyngeal cancer
  • oropharyngeal cancer education
  • oropharyngeal cancer protection
  • perceived roles
  • systematic review


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