ADA Urges Dentists to Support HPV Vaccine

The American Dental Association (ADA) has adopted a policy that urges dentist to support the use and administration of the HPV Vaccine to their patients.

Human Papillomavirus

HPV, or human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. Most of the time, HPV goes away on its own and does not normally cause adverse health effects. But, some kinds of HPV can cause genital warts and cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause oropharyngeal cancer, which is cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils.

Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. The CDC recommends children 11 to 12 years old get vaccinated. “Catch-up vaccines” are available to boys and men through age 21 and women through age 26 who did not get vaccinated as a child. The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved the vaccine for adults up to 45 years old. Also, it is recommended for gay and bisexual men, as well as those with compromised immune systems to receive the vaccine.

Can the HPV Vaccine Prevent Oropharyngeal Cancer?

The ADA has recognized the HPV vaccine as a way to help prevent infection and types of HPV associated with oropharyngeal cancer. The American Cancer Society expects more than 50,000 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancers in 2018. Of those 50,000 cases, 70% to 80% of them were attributable to HPV. The ADA concluded that the vaccine is underutilized, even though it could help prevent a vast number of those cases.

Will Dentists Support the HPV Vaccine?

The ADA encourages dentists to get educated about spotting signs of oral and oropharyngeal cancers early and referring patients to specialists. Also, they urge dentists, along with all trusted healthcare professionals, to support and encourage the HPV vaccine to their patients as a way to prevent infections and cancers.

For more information on oral cancers, visit and for more information on the human papillomavirus, visit Visit to stay in the loop on new updates regarding the vaccine.