Counseling, Early referral, Oral health promotion, Pediatrician, Screening
Citation Information :
Reddy SM, Shaik N, Pudi S, Yennavaram VK, Kotha A, Avidapu R. Assessing the Pediatricians’ Role in Improving Young Children's Oral Health in Telangana State: A Cross-sectional Study. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 2022; 15 (5):591-595.
Background: Primary precautionary approaches for oral health is an essential tool concerning public health, as dental caries is one of the eminently prevailing chronic diseases among children across the globe. As pediatricians and pediatric healthcare professionals are more likely to encounter children when compared to general dentists, it is crucial for them to be acquainted with possible risk factors and diseases occurring in early childhood. Therefore, it is highly advocated to take necessary steps at an initial stage to help promote pragmatic results during childhood and succeeding adulthood phases.
Objectives: The pediatrician's attitude toward dental health and his dental screening, counseling, and referral practices.
Material and methods: This was a cross-sectional study in the Hyderabad district, following area sampling on a sample of 200 child healthcare professionals, as calculated based on a pilot study. A definitive and validated questionnaire was used for the collection of data, and pediatric health professionals were approached in their workplaces.
Results: About 44.5% of pediatricians usually check teeth during routine tongue and throat examinations. Around 59.5% of them suspect cavities when the child looks undernourished. A total of >80% of them voted that oral health cannot be neglected, as it is an integral part of a child's general health and dental screening, and referral at regular intervals of time is their responsibility. Only 8.5% advised fluoridated toothpaste, whereas only 62.5% counseled parents on the dental ill effects of nighttime bottle-feeding and digit sucking.
Conclusion: Although all the pediatricians had appropriate attitudes toward oral health, they were not put into action by many.
Dental public health significance: Pediatricians play a vital role as potential partners in the oral health promotion of children and their families. A pediatric primary care provider's regular screening, counseling, and referral would help his/her patients in getting the right treatment done at the right time.
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