Evidence points to a link between the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and oropharyngeal malignancies. The most prevalent HPV-associated cancer is oropharyngeal cancer, which is on the rise. The previous study indicates that dental practitioners are aware of their role in the prevention of HPV and oropharyngeal malignancies. This qualitative study investigated dental opinion leaders’ opinions on barriers and facilitators to HPV-related prevention in the dentistry profession as an initial step toward studying effective methods of implementing HPV prevention into dental practises, including the HPV vaccination. Dental opinion leaders were selected using the following methods: (1) national professional organisations and advocacy groups, (2) an expert panel’s recommendation, and (3) focus groups with oral health practitioners. Opinion leaders discussed the multi-level variables that influence dental professionals’ HPV-related preventive practices. HPV was a barrier since it was a difficult issue, and there was a need for HPV-related education and skills. Perceptions of HPV prevention as part of the dental provider’s duty, as well as the possible creation of passive educational approaches to give HPV-related information to patients, were facilitators. Opinion leaders stated that dental professionals have a role in the prevention of HPV and oropharyngeal cancer; however, dental providers require further information and skill-based training to effectively incorporate this issue into their practice. 

Opinion leaders play an important role in defining this subject as a priority and suggesting viable treatments to help dental professionals with HPV-related prevention. Future studies should focus on opinion leaders as crucial change agents.

Reference: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645515.2019.1565261