Guillemette LIENHART, PhD Student, Doctor of dental surgery, RESHAPE
Caries prevention in children: what factors influence its implementation in healthcare settings?
Dental caries is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in childhood, affecting almost 8% of the general child population in 2017. For this reason, bad oral health in children is considered to be a common issue for dentists as well as for family physicians and pediatricians who provide regular well-child visits during the first years of the child's life. In addition to surgical treatment, prevention measures and counselling are widely considered to be an essential part of caries management in international guidelines. Yet, health professionals report spending little time on it in their everyday practice. The gap existing between the theoretical importance of dental prevention and the actual lack of its clinical implementation requires further investigations. In this regard, we conducted a systematic review aiming to identify and classify factors perceived by health professionals to be barriers or facilitators to caries prevention in children. This study reveals multiple systemic barriers affecting all organizational levels of the health system.
Among all factors discussed in this systematic review, health professionals commonly mention parents as a barrier to effective oral health prevention in children. Parents of children with dental caries are described as lacking oral health knowledge, parental skills, motivation, and authority. In the field of obesity, it has been demonstrated that the health professionals' negative perceptions of their patients could affect disease management quality with shorter consultations, less respectful communication, and a less patient-centered approach. In light of this, our research team is conducting a qualitative study to further investigate health professionals' perceptions of children with dental caries and their parents and how their opinions can influence attitudes and quality of care