Knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary health care providers towards oral health of preschool children in Qatar


Objective: Health care providers can effectively participate in oral health promotion for children in primary care setting. Currently, there are no oral health promotion programs that involve primary health care professionals in Qatar. Hence, this study was undertaken to examine the knowledge and attitudes of all health professionals who work in the Well baby Clinics in the primary health centers.

Method: A 23-item questionnaire was distributed across 20 primary health centers. The questionnaire sought information on the demographic data of health professionals, their knowledge of oral health and their practices and attitudes towards critical oral health issues.  Data were examined by Pearson Chi-squared tests or Fisher’s Exact test(p = 0.05).

Results: The response rate of the health professionals was 62.9%. Only 35.7% of the 225 participants received some form of oral health training during their undergraduate programme. The participants would assess the dental problem of the child(p = 0.05) and discuss the importance of tooth brushing with the mother(p = 0.03). A significant number of respondents (p = 0.04) were unlikely to assess the children’s fluoride intake. There was a significant difference in the group of participants that would examine the child’s teeth(p = 0.01) and counsel the mothers on prevention of dental problems(p = 0.01). This group would also refer children to dentist at 12 months of age(p = 0.05). 

Conclusions: Health professionals had a positive attitude towards the anticipatory guidance elements of oral health. However, the knowledge of healthcare professionals on childhood oral health is rather limited.