Children Are Not Brushing Their Teeth
As parents, we like to think we do our best to protect the health of our children.
But are we really sure we take good care of their oral health?
The number of Welsh children with fillings has doubled in four years which is alarming.
According to a new survey by Mintel, just over half of British parents with children younger than 12-years-old make sure their children visit their dentist on a regular basis and a large number of parents did not know what the right time to take their kids for their first checkup was.
Dentists recommend that babies should be taken to a dentist once the milk teeth come through, but it is necessary for a professional to see a child’s teeth before the kid is two-years-old. After that, depending on each individual case, checkups will be recommended once every three months to once a year.
Moreover, only 57% of respondents said they checked if their children had brushed their teeth. Among these, mothers were more conscious about their kids’ oral hygiene, with 63% of female respondents ensuring their children brush on a regular basis. This compared to 50% of fathers surveyed.
What is even more worrying is the fact that almost one in ten parents believe baby teeth do not require any special care, since they will fall out anyway. But ignoring oral hygiene for young children leads to tooth decay and prevents children from developing tooth care habits.
The poll also revealed that about one in five parents felt they were not confident enough to protect their children’s oral health.
Teaching children to brush their teeth regularly from an early age is important not just for their oral health during childhood, but also because once established the habit of brushing and flossing should stay with them for the rest of their lives.
This means they are more likely to enjoy a healthy, shining smile in the long term.
However, many parents agree that teaching their children to take good care of their teeth is often easier said than done. Just half of UK parents are making sure their children brush their teeth.
Here are three tips on how to do get your children brushing:
- Never forget to brush. Sometimes in the evening both parent and child are tired and can be tempted to skip brushing their teeth altogether, instead of heading straight to bed. Even if this is a rare occurrence, it can still have a negative impact as it teaches the child that brushing is not a must and can be avoided. Moreover, even the occasional failure to brush can start the process of cavity formation.
- Set an example. The best way to encourage children to do something is for the parents to do it too. Turn to brush into a fun family activity and remember that kids learn by example. Be the one who demonstrates the importance of oral care by brushing together.
- Make it fun. There are a number of toothbrushes available which have lights or make sounds whilst brushing, making the process more entertaining for children. Toothpaste that also tastes like bubble gum or fruit is just as good as regular mint pastes (if it is made by a dentist-approved brand) and will also encourage brushing.
Read more about Children’s Oral Health on our Blog:
- Dental Cavities May Impede Children’s Growth.
- New Guidelines Recommend Prescription Toothpaste for Children.
- Second-Hand Smoke Increases Risk Of Tooth Decay In Children.
Taking proper care of baby teeth is essential Many parents believe that failing to properly look after their children’s teeth is not that important since baby teeth will eventually fall out, making way for healthy, permanent teeth.
However, dentists have warned that taking poor care of baby teeth may have a long-term effect on permanent teeth as well.
Despite the fact that children today have healthier teeth than ever before, tooth decay rates could still be improved with joint efforts from the government, communities, and parents. This is evident from a nursery programme in Scotland called Childsmile, where nursery staff offered free tooth-brushing for children every day.
The initiative dramatically reduced costs in dental care for five-year-old children living in Scotland. Taking proper care of a child’s teeth is not difficult if the foundations are laid early.