Oral health training, knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary care paediatricians: a European survey
Del Torso, Stefano
Van Esso, Diego L.
Cauwels, Rita G.E.C.
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Oral health is an essential component of children’s general health. The aim of this study is to evaluate the training, knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary care paediatricians in oral health in Europe. Paediatricians were invited to complete a survey on the web. There was a 54.3% response rate. The oral health education of the responders was received mainly through continuing medical education and practical experience (51%) rather than in medical school or during paediatric residency training (33%). Twenty-four percent of the responders did not know that the first signs of caries were white spots on the surfaces of teeth. Although 98.8% of paediatricians check the oral health status of children, only 52% feel confident enough to identify dental caries. A large proportion of the paediatricians (43%) recommended a first dental visit for children above the age of 3 years and only 7% under 1 year of age. Conclusions: Paediatricians are familiar with some aspects of the oral health but are not confident in identifying the risk factors. The current postgraduate curriculum in Paediatrics should incorporate training on basic oral healthcare. In addition, continuous educational programmes are needed to keep the knowledge of the paediatrician up to date.What is Known:• Oral health is an essential component of general health that influences the functional, psychological and social dimensions of a child’s well-being.• Paediatricians are the leading providers of primary healthcare for children.What is New:• Paediatricians are familiar with some aspects of the oral health of children but are not confident in identifying the risk factors responsible for oral disease.• The current postgraduate curriculum in Paediatrics should incorporate training on basic oral healthcare in children.