2Internal Medicine College of Medicine, University of Lagos Lagos, Nigeria
3Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
Oral health is an important part of the general health of children. Collaborative relationships between physicians and dentists can help improve oral and overall health of children. The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitude of undergraduate medical students on early childhood caries (ECC) and infant oral health (IOH). A cross-sectional study was conducted among undergraduate medical students to assess their knowledge and attitude on ECC and IOH through a self-administered questionnaire which consisted of four parts. The questionnaire assessed the students’ knowledge of IOH, which included IOH care visits, time of tooth eruption, oral hygiene
measures in children, the etiology, prevention, transmission of ECC and the students’ attitude
concerning general IOH and ECC. A total of 129 students participated in the study with a mean age of 24.2 ± 3.0 years. There were 74 males and 55 females. Concerning tooth eruption, most of the students (75.2%) knew that a child’s first tooth erupts at about 6-7 months of age. Only 32.6% of the respondents agreed that a child’s first visit to the dentist should be on or before the age of 1
year, 70.5% knew that a mother should start cleaning her child’s teeth as soon as the first primary tooth erupts. Only 14.7% of them knew that ECC is transmissible from mother to child, about 74.4% agreed that putting babies to sleep with a bottle containing infant formula/breast milk can predispose to ECC. Among the students, 23.3% of them associated on demand/prolonged breastfeeding with ECC. Majority of the students had good knowledge of general IOH but had poor knowledge with regards to the etiology and prevention of ECC. Conclusion: There is a need to increase the knowledge of medical students on IOH especially in the etiology and prevention of ECC.