The Knowledge and Practice of Pediatricians in Children's Oral Health

A Scoping Review

Virginia Dickson-Swift; Amanda Kenny; Mark Gussy; Colleen McCarthy; Stacey Bracksley-O'Grady


BMC Oral Health. 2020;20(211) 

In This Article


The aim of this review was to comprehensively map the literature to answer the following research question "What is known about the knowledge and practice of pediatricians regarding children's oral health"? Arksey & O'Malley's[23] five-stage framework guided the review: identifying the research question, identifying relevant studies, study selection, charting and collating the data, and summarising and reporting the data.

An initial search of Google Scholar was carried out to refine the review question and determine key terms. Authors have identified the usefulness of Google Scholar in the initial planning stages for any review.[24] A specialist health librarian assisted with search term development: "knowledge" OR "training OR program" OR "care" OR "practice" OR "education" OR "dental education" AND "oral health" OR "dental care" OR "dental health" OR "dental caries*" OR "oral disease/mouth disease" AND "pediatric*" OR "paediatric*" AND "child*" OR "infant" OR "early childhood". Wild cards (in this case*) were used to capture all terms with the same root word. There are a range of practitioners involved in the care of children, including family physicians and general practitioners, however, our review was specifically focused on pediatricians. The terms paediatrician and pediatrician were used to accommodate for differences in spelling.

Inclusion and exclusion criteria, consistent with our review purpose were developed and are outlined in Table 1.

Searches were conducted in Medline, OVID, CINAHL, Proquest, Embase, and AHMED, with database choice guided by an expert librarian. The review process followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA)[22,25] framework. The PRISMA checklist is included as a supplementary file. Consistent with Arksey and O'Malley's[23] framework, data were charted using a data extraction tool for each article that included: author, year, title, journal, location, aims and objectives, number of pediatricians in the sample, key findings and conclusions (see supplementary file). The process of data charting was checked by a minimum of two authors.

Consistent with guidelines for the effective reporting of scoping reviews[26] and the Arksey and O'Malley framework,[22] the final stage of the scoping review methodology relates to summarising and reporting the data.[22] For this stage, a thematic mapping approach[22] to summarising the key findings were undertaken which enabled the presentation of a narrative account of the existing literature in relation to the key areas of oral health knowledge and practice of pediatricians and barriers to practice (see supplementary file for full details of the included studies).