Prevention of Dental Caries: Knowledge, Practice and Opinion of Paediatricians in Lagos
Background: Dental caries is the most prevalent oral disease in children and this is preventable. Paediatricians are the first professionals whom children visit and are in good position to begin the process of prevention of dental caries if they recognize and encourage good preventive habits.
Objective: To determine the knowledge, practice and opinion of pediatricians in prevention of dental caries.
Materials and Methods: A cross sectional survey was undertaken among pediatricians in Lagos. Questionnaires were administered to pediatricians practicing in Teaching hospitals, general and private hospitals in Lagos. The questionnaire assessed their personal details, knowledge about caries, practice guidelines and opinion towards its prevention.
Results: Less than one-third (27.7%) of the pediatricians knew that bacteria causing caries can be transmitted from mother to child. Only about one-third (30.8 %) of the paediatricians examine children’s teeth for dental caries. Majority (87.7%) were of the opinion that paediatricians have a role in promoting oral health. A total of 59% of the paediatricians had moderate knowledge, while (71%) of them had poor practice and their opinion for prevention of dental caries was positive in more than two-thirds of them (71%).
Conclusion: We concluded that most paediatricians in Lagos had moderate knowledge, poor practice and lacked proper awareness about prevention of dental caries.
Recommendation: We recommend that preventive dentistry topics in oral health promotion and prevention of dental caries be part of their postgraduate curriculum, continued dental health education programme for paediatricians, referral of related cases to paediatric dentists and oral health related topics be published in paediatric medical journals.
Keywords: Dental Caries, Paediatricians, Lagos.