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Abstract

INTRODUCTION Prevention of dental diseases in children requires interprofessional education (IPE) and care coordination between oral health professionals and primary care providers; however, the extent of preparation of medical residents and its impact on their provision of preventive oral health services in clinical practice requires further investigation.

METHODS A two-stage cluster sample of 470 US family medicine and 205 pediatric residency programs was used. A random sample of 30% (N=140) of family medicine and 29% (N=60) of pediatric residency programs were randomly selected. Of these, 42 programs (21%) invited residents to participate. Residents (N=95, 28%) completed an online questionnaire regarding oral health training in residency. Statistical analysis included frequencies and Spearman’s rank correlations.

RESULTS Eighty-three percent of family medicine and pediatric residents combined reported receiving oral health education. Clinical experiences involving oral healthcare were frequently reported (77%, n=75); however, IPE with an oral health professional was limited. Both groups indicated they provided anticipatory guidance regarding regular dental visits and toothbrushing “very often” and avoiding bottles at bedtime “often.” Residents reported performing dental caries assessments “often” and applying fluoride varnish “occasionally.” For family medicine residents, moderate correlations (p ≤ 0.01) were found between hours of oral health education and providing anticipatory guidance. For pediatric residents, a moderate correlation (p < 0.01) was found between hours of oral health education and assessing teeth for demineralization.

CONCLUSION Increased effort is needed to meet national recommendations for educating family medicine and pediatric residents regarding oral healthcare for children, including increased IPE involving oral health professionals.

Publication Date

10-22-2015

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