Recommendations regarding caries-preventive self-care for children are provided by several health authorities.
To investigate recommendations given to the public regarding children’s caries-preventive self-care by Norwegian dentists, dental hygienists, dental nurses and public health nurses.
Questionnaires were sent by e-mail and answered by 808 of 1132 persons who provide oral preventive promotion to children in dental services and health centres. The preventive advice was obtained through questions about the preferred preventive methods, fluoride recommendations and sources of knowledge on which the personnel based the advice about caries prevention in children. The responses were analysed using logistic regression.
The majority (59–71%) in all professions judged oral hygiene education to be the most important caries-preventive method. Most personnel (84–98%) recommended all children to use fluoride toothpaste, and half of all personnel (53%) recommended fluoride lozenges for 50% or more of children. Multivariate analysis showed that dental nurses recommended lozenges to more children than dentists (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.7–3.7), while health nurses recommended lozenges to fewer children than dentists (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.3–0.8). The most important source of knowledge reported by dental personnel was professional education, while health nurses relied on information from dental personnel.
Health professions’ recommendations regarding caries-preventive self-care for children were mainly similar, although variation existed both between and within professions. Collaboration between professions and awareness of the evidence base for preventive oral care may improve the consistency of information given by health professionals to the public.