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Talking to your patients about the HPV vaccine
March 22, 2019

This article is intended for dentists who care for children, teenagers, and young adults.

Cancers of the throat and mouth have continued to increase over the last 10 years. With 70 percent of these cancers being related to the human papillomavirus (HPV), the American Dental Association (ADA) encourages dentists to promote administration of the HPV vaccine.

Janis Moriarty, DMD, will have her son vaccinated for HPV.

The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs suggests that a recommendation from a trusted health care professional is the single best predictor of whether a young person receives the vaccine.

Talk to your patients
Because you perform oral cancer screenings on your patients, you can play an important role in educating your patients on how to reduce their risk of oral and nasopharyngeal cancer by getting the HPV vaccine.

The vaccine is recommended for pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults. The ADA encourages dentists to start this conversation on the importance of this vaccine with caregivers once their child turns 9. Your recommendation of this vaccine can help prevent oral and nasopharyngeal cancer as well as other cancers that otherwise may occur.

"I talk to the parents of my younger patients about the importance of the HPV vaccine in preventing oropharyngeal cancer," says Janis Moriarty, D.M.D. Dr. Moriarty, who has a general dentistry practice in Winchester and is President-Elect of the Massachusetts Dental Society, notes that "We are in the health profession, and reinforcing the importance of this vaccine can help save lives. Many of my colleagues, with support from the American Dental Association, are also passing on this message."

For more information about the HPV virus and the vaccine available to treat it, please visit the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html.


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