IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 9550: Spanish Paediatricians’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Regarding Oral Health of Children under 6 Years of Age: A Cross-Sectional Study (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Background: Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a prevalent chronic pathology, and it has a negative impact on the oral and general health of the child patient. Aim: To evaluate the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Spanish paediatricians regarding early childhood caries according to the professional’s years of experience. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire was conducted by Spanish paediatricians via WhatsApp and e-mails from January to April 2021. Data were analysed using Chi-squared test, Fisher’s exact test and Cramer’s V test. Results: There were a total of 359 participants. Most respondents were women (81.3%) with up to 10 years of professional experience (31.2%) in primary health care and public health. In most cases, participants had an excellent knowledge of primary dentition (90.8%), but they ignored (56%) when the first visit to the dentist should occur. Regarding the aetiological factors of caries, oral hygiene and prevention, a lower rate of knowledge was observed. The majority of participants (80.8%) were not able to identify white spot lesions and enamel defects (76%). They considered that their knowledge in oral health was deficient, highlighting the need to increase their training. Less experienced paediatricians were found to have higher success rates. Conclusions: The level of knowledge and attitudes regarding early childhood caries of the evaluated paediatricians should be improved. Paediatricians had difficulties in identifying early caries lesions and enamel defects. Nevertheless, a higher level of knowledge and positive attitudes towards dental caries has been detected among paediatricians with fewer years of professional experience.