Physicians who provide primary care for children are considered to be in a unique position to provide dental preventive care to their patients. No literature relates the amount of preventive oral health education that physicians receive during training. The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of pediatricians and family physicians toward preventive dental care in children. A questionnaire was mailed to 398 pediatricians and 632 family physicians licensed to practice in the state of Alabama. The response rate after one mailing and a reminder was 46%. Physician's knowledge about many aspects of preventive dental care was good, but areas of great concern were identified. Overall, most respondents received 2 hr or less of preventive dental education during medical and specialty training. Pediatricians were better informed than family physicians in the areas of general dental knowledge and prevention counseling related to oral health (P < 0.05).