Knowledge, attitudes and behaviour regarding the infant oral health visit: are dentists in Ireland aware of the recommendation for a first visit to the dentist by age 1 year?
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To assess the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of dentists nationwide in Ireland regarding the infant oral health visit, and also to elucidate whether dentists were aware of the recommendation for a first dental visit by age 1 year and of what care should be provided at this visit.
A validated 10-item questionnaire was distributed to a representative sample of non-paediatric dentists (non-PDs) and paediatric dentists (PDs) practicing in Ireland. The questionnaire focused on respondents’ demographics in addition to their knowledge, attitudes and behaviour regarding the infant dental visit.
Seventy-three percent of non-PDs reported seeing patients aged 0–36 months. Compared to all PD respondents, 58% of non-PDs believed that the first dental visit should occur by age 1 year. Furthermore, non-PDs provided the same care as PDs at the infant dental visit, with the exception of evaluating for fluoride needs and placing fluoride varnish. The main barrier to early oral healthcare was reported to be parents not requesting dental appointments for their infants.
There remains a need to increase the proportion of non-PDs in Ireland seeing infants by their first birthday. It is recommended that Irish undergraduate and continuing education courses incorporate clinical training regarding the infant oral health visit and emphasise fluoride needs evaluation and fluoride varnish application. Additionally, a nationwide health promotion initiative is indicated to inform parents of the importance of a dental visit by age 1 year.
KeywordsPaediatric dentistry Infant oral health Infant dental visit First dental visit Fluoride Preventive dentistry
We would like to thank Ms. Elaine Hughes for kindly distributing our online questionnaire to all members of the Irish Dental Association. Sincere thanks to Dr. Maria Van Harten for meaningful discussion.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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