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


Pediatricians have an important role in children's oral health. However, there have been no reviews that have brought together evidence on the knowledge and practice of pediatricians regarding children's oral health. This review addresses this gap. The findings demonstrate that pediatricians have limited knowledge and understanding in critical areas, including; initial clinical signs of dental caries, recommended age for first dental visit, the transmission of bacteria from mother to child in the etiology of dental caries, and recommended use of fluorides. Barriers to oral health practice for pediatricians include inadequate education and training, time constraints in practice, lack of referral pathways, and cost implications that are often compounded by complicated medical/dental insurance schemes. Addressing gaps in education and training and action on other barriers must be a priority. There is a need for the development of a well-designed validated tool to assess knowledge and practice. This scoping review provides a useful starting point to guide future research and areas for focused, systematic reviews.