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Oral Health: One third of kids don’t brush twice a day

 

Today we celebrate World Oral Health Day!

This year people are encouraged to “think mouth, think health”. Your mouth is a mirror to your body and reflects your general health and well-being. A healthy mouth and a healthy body go hand in hand. Maintaining a healthy mouth is crucial to keeping it functioning correctly and for maintaining overall health and quality of life.

A recent study found one in three Australian children do not brush their teeth twice a day and one in 10 have had at least one decayed tooth pulled out before they turn eight, according to a new report.

The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll also revealed for the first time that many well-meaning parents are confused about how best to keep their children’s teeth healthy.

Brushing your teeth less than twice a day, not enough visits to the dentist and a diet high in sugar are all setting children up for a lifetime of poor dental health, the survey of Australian parents reveals.

The latest poll, which was conducted in January, provides new information about how well parents understand how to keep teeth healthy and prevent health problems for their children.

The survey of 2073 parents, representing 3992 children, shows:

ONE in three children (33 per cent) do not have their teeth cleaned twice a day

ONE in four primary school-aged children (27 per cent) don’t brush their teeth twice a day. Similarly, one in four teenagers (27%) don’t brush their teeth twice a day

ONE in four parents (23 per cent) believe children only need to see the dentist if they have a problem with their teeth

ALMOST half of parents (48 per cent) don’t know that tap water, which contains fluoride, is better for teeth than bottled water

ONE in four parents (28 per cent) wrongly believe brushing once a day is OK

ONE in eight parents (23 per cent) believe children only need to brush their teeth if they eat sugary food.

However, some health messages are getting through, with 85 per cent of parents knowing that fruit juice is a sugary drink that can cause teeth to rot.

But, one in four children still drink sugary drinks almost every day, rising to one in three among teenagers.

Dr Anthea Rhodes, paediatrician and RCH National Child Health Poll Director said: “These results are more concerning than we expected. For the first time, we can see that many parents are confused about what they need to do keep their child’s teeth healthy. Having a healthy mouth isn’t a matter of luck, it’s a matter of habit. Good habits can prevent many common dental problems. Tooth decay is largely preventable, yet rates in young children are rising and kids are suffering unnecessarily.’’

Dr Rhodes said more parents needed to be made aware of how to prevent tooth decay in their children.

“Parents can’t solve this problem on their own. Health care professionals and policy makers need to address the knowledge gap if we are to slow the rates of dental disease.”

Dr Rhodes said for ideal dental health, you should:

BRUSH your teeth twice a day

VISIT the dentist at least once a year for check-ups from age one

CHOOSE a tooth-friendly diet, including drinking tap water instead of sugary drinks.

“These three simple things will help set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health,” Dr Rhodes said.

Our award winning Keeping Kids Smiling program reaches thousands of kinder and primary school students each year, and provides free dental check-ups and education about the importance of good oral health.

For more information visit http://www.linkhc.org.au/services/childrens-services/dental/

 

Source: Herald Sun, Kids News <http://www.heraldsun.com.au/kids-news/poll-finds-many-kids-have-rotten-teeth-and-dont-brush-enough-but-their-parents-are-a-big-part-of-the-problem/news-story/e51ed82ecb53341af0dcd4c67e560a1d>

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