Oral Health Training in Pediatric Residency Programs: Pediatric Program Directors' Perspectives

J Dent Educ. 2019 Jun;83(6):630-637. doi: 10.21815/JDE.019.058. Epub 2019 Feb 25.


A 2011 study evaluating oral health training in pediatric medical residency programs highlighted opportunities to improve residents' oral health competence. The aim of this 2017 follow-up study was to assess progress since 2011 in promoting development of pediatric residents' oral health competence. A survey was sent to all 281 pediatric and med-peds medical residency program directors to assess the structure and determinants of oral health training in their programs. A total of 110 program directors responded to the 2017 survey (response rate 40%). Just over half (54%) of the respondents reported that their residents received one to two hours of oral health education during residency, while 38% received ≥3 hours (compared to 47% and 48%, respectively, in 2011). There was improvement in the proportion of respondents reporting that their residents integrated fluoride varnish application training in 2017 vs. 2011 (83% vs. 43%; p<0.001). Departmental support for integrating oral health and having an oral health elective were significantly associated with satisfaction with residents' oral health competence. These findings suggest that pediatric and med-peds medical residency programs have improved their residents' oral health awareness and training through integration of at least one hour of oral health education and fluoride varnish training. However, given deficiencies in program structure and uneven perceptions of residents' oral health competence found in this study, opportunities remain to improve pediatric residency programs' oral health curricula.

Keywords: interprofessional education; interprofessional practice; oral health; pediatric residency programs; pediatric residents; pediatrics.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / methods*
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration
  • Oral Health / education*
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States