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Oral health training, knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary care paediatricians: a European survey


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.

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American Academy of Pediatrics


American Academy of Pediatric Dentists


Continuing medical education


European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry


European Academy of Paediatrics Research in Ambulatory Setting Network


Early childhood decay


Oral health


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The authors would like to thank the EAPRASnet coordinators for their dedication and commitment. We would also like to express our thanks to all the members of EAPRASnet who have participated in our joint studies and were ready to share their invaluable experience and your precious time. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the contribution of Marios Phylactides in editing the article.


The survey was supported financially by an unrestricted educational grant from Colgate-Palmolive Europe Sarl. The sponsor had no role in the design of the study, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, neither in the writing of the report nor in the decision to present the article for publication.

Author information

AH: Principal investigator. Study conception and design, analysing data and drafting the article.

ZG: Study conception. Designing and reviewing the article.

SdT: Designing and reviewing the article.

KM: Statistical analysis of the data and reviewing the article.

DVE: Data acquisition and reviewing the article.

RC: Study conception. Designing and drafting the article.

All authors read and approved the final manuscript

Correspondence to Adamos Hadjipanayis.

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All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Additional information

Communicated by Mario Bianchetti

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Hadjipanayis, A., Grossman, Z., del Torso, S. et al. Oral health training, knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary care paediatricians: a European survey. Eur J Pediatr 177, 675–681 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-018-3108-z

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  • Oral health
  • Paediatrician
  • Training
  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Practices