Background: Pediatric health care providers may be the only source of preventive oral health education for families of young children who lack access to professional dental care.
Objective: We surveyed Washington State pediatricians in order to characterize their oral health-related educational needs and anticipatory guidance practices.
Methods: A 38-question survey was mailed to all 606 general pediatricians in Washington State. Topics included anticipatory practices and confidence in oral health-related activities.
Results: Of 483 eligible participants, 271 returned completed surveys (response rate: 57%). A median of 30 percent of the well-child visit was devoted to providing anticipatory guidance. A majority (83.7%) of respondents reported providing anticipatory guidance on oral health.
Conclusion: Washington State pediatricians are already involved in providing oral health anticipatory guidance. Certain factors are identified that should be addressed to allow pediatricians to promote oral health more effectively.