The National Dental Survey found that well over half of the parents asked found it challenging and generally difficult to get their children to brush their teeth both in the morning and again at night.
More worryingly, the research conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation found that almost one in three parents do not trust their children to clean their teeth properly.
Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, showed concern over the results and believes more needs to be done to encourage children to keep their mouths healthy.
Dr Carter said: “With all the issues and difficulties new parents have to face, keeping a good oral health routine for your child may not be at the top of your list – but it should.
“Getting them into good habits early on is the only way to teach them the value of looking after their teeth for life. If children learn how to manage their teeth at an early age, the sooner they will be able, and want to do it by themselves.
“A lot of people still do not release the links between a healthy mouth and a healthy overall body. Having a clean set of teeth and gums can help to prevent the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and strokes in the future, so getting children to understand the importance of oral hygiene goes much deeper than stained teeth and the odd filling.”
The National Dental Survey, which was released in conjuncture with National Smile Month (May 16 – June 16) and commissioned by its campaign sponsors Oral–B, Listerine and Orbit Complete, surveyed more than 1,000 members of the public.
The annual survey aims to investigate the dental habits and practices of those living in the UK, in order to address the levels of awareness and misconceptions there are about oral health.
Further findings from the study will be released throughout National Smile Month on the Foundation’s website at www.dentalhealth.org.
Dr Carter added: “The annual surveys are always fascinating and throw up some startling results. We often struggle to believe the habits of some of those asked and it really does flag up how little people know about their oral health.
“By looking through the results so far it is clear that we as a Foundation, as well as dental practices up–and–down the country, need to get children more motivated when it comes to brushing their teeth. Parents can consistently drill home the messages but at the end of the day it is ultimately down to the child themselves.”
The Foundation’s online shop currently has hundreds of motivators for children of all ages, from novelty toothbrushes, to CDs and DVDs, to colouring books and boomerangs.
Dr Carter added: “We need to make fighting cavities fun. Providing more educational resources to younger levels will help children realise the importance of keeping a health mouth.
We continue to supply fun and enjoyable educational tools for them to use and go side–by–side with the good healthy messages from their parents.
“If you do struggle to get your child to brush their teeth then contact the National Dental Helpline (0845 063 1188) for free advice on dental health and tips to get your child involved in a positive routine.”
The Foundation’s three key messages throughout National Smile Month are to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste, cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visit your dentist regularly as often as they recommend provide a firm base for a lifetime of good oral health.
For further information and regional stats of the survey results please contact the Foundation’s Press Office on 01788 539792 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the public can contact the Dental Helpline for free and impartial expert advice on 0845 063 1188, Monday to Friday, or by emailing email@example.com.
The Foundation’s shop can be accessed at www.dentalhealth.org.uk/shop/browse.php. For educational resources or campaign products contact our sales team on 01788 539 793.
The Foundation’s website can be found at www.dentalhealth.org.
The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent charity dedicated to improving the public’s oral health practice. It raises awareness of key issues such as mouth cancer through its annual Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign, and in alliance with its global arm, the International Dental Health Foundation, it runs the educational National Smile Month campaign. The Foundation provides free, impartial dental advice to inform and influence the public, the profession and the Government.