Published by Action for Children, the survey polled 2,000 parents across the UK and found that one in five children (20%) under the age of five brush their teeth just once a day, even though baby teeth, much like adult teeth, need brushing twice a day.
In addition, 19% of parents also said that they only sometimes supervise their children aged five or under to brush their teeth, despite the fact that NHS guidelines advise parents to supervise their children while brushing their teeth up until the age of seven. Lack of supervision to ensure children are brushing effectively twice a day (one occasion as last thing at night) can lead to a lifetime of poor oral health.
To tackle the problem, the charity has launched family educational sessions and take-home packs for 10,000 children in order to help them develop an effective oral hygiene routine. The workshops will offer the chance to take part in interactive activities and discussions and to find out useful tips about brushing, limiting sugary food and drinks and regular visits to the dentist.
Carol Iddon, managing director at Action for Children, said: ‘Too many children continue to be badly affected by poor oral health – but being able to smile with confidence is important for a child’s self-esteem and lifelong physical health. We need to provide the opportunity for children and families to develop a better understanding of the importance of oral health. Prevention can help avoid unnecessary pain for children and save parents and the healthcare system money.
‘Our fun and informative workshops aim to provide the opportunity for children and families to develop a better understanding of the importance of oral health and the practical skills they need to maintain it.’
The charity will roll out its first ever oral health workshops, which are tailored to children aged zero to three years, three to six years and seven+ years at 230 children’s centres. The workshops and take-home packs are endorsed by the Oral Health Foundation and funded through Wrigley’s Extra Smile Back project, a major campaign that took place this summer, during which a donation to Action for Children was made for every pack of Extra sugarfree gum sold in the UK.
For tips on how to get children into a brushing routine, visit the website.