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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
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
Bottenberg P, Van Melckebeke L, Louckx F, Vandenplas Y (2008) Knowledge of Flemish paediatricians about children’s oral health—results of a survey. Acta Paediatr 97(7):959–963. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.00827.x
Bozorgmehr EMT, Hjizamani A, Vahidi A, Khajoee F (2012) Knowledge, attitude, and practices of pediatricians about children’s oral health. J Oral Health Oral Epidemiol 2:93–98
del Torso S, van Esso D, Gerber A, Drabik A, Hadjipanayis A, Nicholson A, Grossman Z (2010) European Academy of Paediatrics Research in Ambulatory Setting network (EAPRASnet): a multi-national general paediatric research network for better child health. Child Care Health Dev 36:385–391
dela Cruz GG, Rozier RG, Slade G (2004) Dental screening and referral of young children by pediatric primary care providers. Pediatrics 114(5):e642–e652. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2004-1269
Dentistry EAoP (2009) Guidelines on the use of fluoride in children: an EAPD policy document. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent: Off J Eur Acad Paediatr Dent 10(3):129–135. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03262673
Di Giuseppe G, Nobile CG, Marinelli A, Angelillo IF (2006) Knowledge, attitude and practices of pediatricians regarding the prevention of oral diseases in Italy. BMC Public Health 6:176
Eke CB, Akaji EA, Ukoha OM, Muoneke VU, Ikefuna AN, Onwuasigwe CN (2015) Paediatricians' perception about oral healthcare of children in Nigeria. BMC Oral Health 15(1):164. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-015-0151-2
Grossman Z, van Esso D, Del Torso S, Hadjipanayis A, Drabik A, Gerber A, Miron D (2011) Primary care pediatricians’ perceptions of vaccine refusal in Europe. Pediatr Infect Dis J 30:255–256
Grossman Z, del Torso S, Hadjipanayis A, van Esso D, Drabik A, Sharland M (2012) Antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory infections: European primary paediatricians’ knowledge, attitudes and practice. Acta Paediatr 101(9):935–940. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2012.02754.x
Grossman Z, Del Torso S, van Esso D, Ehrich JH, Altorjai P, Mazur A, Wyder C, Neves AM, Dornbusch HJ, Jaeger Roman E, Santucci A, Hadjipanayis A (2016) Use of electronic health records by child primary healthcare providers in Europe. Child Care Health Dev 42:928–933
Hadjipanayis A, Grossman Z, Del Torso S, van Esso D, Dornbusch HJ, Mazur A, Drabik A, Montini G (2015) Current primary care management of children aged 1-36 months with urinary tract infections in Europe: large scale survey of paediatric practice. Arch Dis Child 100(4):341–347. https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2014-306119
Health SPDO (2008) Preventive oral health intervention for pediatricians. Pediatrics 122:1387–1394
Health SOO (2014) Maintaining and improving the oral health of young children. Pediatrics 134(6):1224–1229. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2014-2984
Herndon JB, Tomar SL, Catalanotto FA (2015) Effect of training pediatricians and family physicians in early childhood caries prevention. J Pediatr 166:1055–1061 e1051
Indira MD, Dhull KS, Nandlal B (2015) Knowledge, attitude and practice toward infant oral healthcare among the pediatricians of Mysore: a questionnaire survey. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 8(3):211–214. https://doi.org/10.5005/jp-journals-10005-1315
Krol DM (2004) Educating pediatricians on children’s oral health: past, present, and future. Pediatrics 113(5):e487–e492. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.113.5.e487
Lewis CW, Grossman DC, Domoto PK, Deyo RA (2000) The role of the pediatrician in the oral health of children: a national survey. Pediatrics 106(6):E84. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.106.6.e84
Lewis CW, Boulter S, Keels MA, Krol DM, Mouradian WE, O’Connor KG, Quinonez RB (2009) Oral health and pediatricians: results of a national survey. Acad Pediatr 9(6):457–461. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2009.09.016
Long CM, Quinonez RB, Beil HA, Close K, Myers LP, Vann WF Jr, Rozier RG (2012) Pediatricians’ assessments of caries risk and need for a dental evaluation in preschool aged children. BMC Pediatr 12:49
Prakash P, Lawrence HP, Harvey BJ, McIsaac WJ, Limeback H, Leake JL (2006) Early childhood caries and infant oral health: Paediatricians’ and family physicians’ knowledge, practices and training. Paediatr Child Health 11(3):151–157. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/11.3.151
Sezer RG, Paketci C, Bozaykut A (2013) Paediatricians'’ awareness of children’s oral health: knowledge, training, attitudes and practices among Turkish paediatricians. Paediatr Child Health 18(4):e15–e19. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/18.4.e15
Slade GDRR, Zeldin LP, McKaig RG, Haupt K (2004) Effect of continuing education on physicians’ provision of dental procedures. J Dent Res 83(Special Issue A):A1324
Subcommittee CACIOH (2014) Guideline on infant oral health care. Clin Pract Guide 37:146–150
van Esso D, del Torso S, Hadjipanayis A, Biver A, Jaeger-Roman E, Wettergren B, Nicholson A, Primary-Secondary Working Group of European Academy of P (2010) Paediatric primary care in Europe: variation between countries. Arch Dis Child 95:791–795
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.
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Communicated by Mario Bianchetti
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Oral health