Human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18 are causally related to a sub-set of oral cavity and oropharyngeal squamous cell cancers. However, a clear estimate of the prevalence of HPV-16/18 in oral cavity and oropharyngeal dysplasia (OOPD) is not available. This literature review and meta-analysis was conducted to provide a prevalence estimate for HPV-16/18 in OOPD. Twenty-two studies that reported prevalence of HPV-16 and/or 18 in 458 OOPD lesions were analyzed. Meta-analysis was used to evaluate the prevalence of HPV-16/18 and logistic regression was used for stratified analysis by age, gender, and histological grade. The overall prevalence of HPV-16/18 in OOPD lesions was 24.5% [95% confidence interval (CI), 16.4-36.7%)]. The individual prevalence for HPV-16 alone was 24.4%. The prevalence of HPV-16/18 in oral cavity lesions alone was 25.3% (95% CI, 14.2-45.2%). The odds of detection of HPV-16/18 in dysplastic lesions in males were twice that of females [odds ratio (OR), 2.44]. HPV-16/18 were 3 times more common in dysplastic lesions (OR, 3.29; 95% CI, 1.95-5.53%) and invasive cancers (OR, 3.43; 95% CI, 2.07-5.69%), when compared to normal biopsies. There was no significant difference in HPV-16/18 rates between dysplastic lesions and cancers or between mild, moderate or severe dysplastic lesions. This meta-analysis provides a quantification of the prevalence of HPV types 16/18 in OOPD lesions. These results also support the assumption that HPV-16/18 infection occurs during the early phase of the oral cavity and oropharyngeal carcinogenesis.