New survey data have revealed confusion amongst mothers concerning their babies’ oral care.

Conducted by paediatric oral health company, Brush-Baby, the survey results state that just 13% of surveyed mothers believe they should first take their baby to the dentist at six months of age, while 72% of mothers said they have never seen any information on gum care for babies.

The study also showed a lack of information from health professionals on baby oral care and teething.

Over half of mothers (53%) reported turning to their own mothers for information on managing their babies’ teething pain, and 17% nationwide asking their grandmothers (rising to 26% in London), with only 10% saying that they get this information from their dentist.

Starting from birth

‘A lifetime’s good oral health starts from birth, with care of baby’s gums and emerging teeth and supervised brushing to at least eight years of age’, commented Professor Liz Kay MBE, foundation dean Peninsula Dental School, Plymouth University, and contributor to NICE guidelines on the role of schools and nurseries in children’s oral health.

‘Getting the whole family involved is crucial, because if parents and grandparents are not providing dental care and good oral health role models, a child’s teeth are pretty much doomed.

‘It is a national outrage that, in this country, there have been more than 34,000 tooth extractions per year for the last two years in children under the age of nine, most in hospital under general anaesthetic.

‘This recent survey serves to emphasise the importance of good oral care and hygiene from the very earliest age.

Lack of guidance

Brush-Baby brings attention to the lack of official messaging on the importance of oral care for babies; the company is pushing for a focus from the spectrum of healthcare professionals on the importance of oral care from birth.

Indeed, the survey also found that 94% of mothers believe that either GPs, health visitors or dentists are best placed to provide baby oral care advice, with almost a quarter (22%) saying it should fall to health visitors.

‘The Singing Dentist’, Dr Milad Shadrooh, is supporting Brush-Baby’s push for consistent messaging across healthcare professionals to encourage mothers to take their young babies to the dentist and regularly wipe their gums and mouth.

‘The Brush-Baby Mums & Gums Survey confirms what I have suspected, which is that mums are looking for more information on oral care for their babies’, Dr Shadrooh commented.

‘I recommend to mothers to wipe their baby’s mouths and gums before teething starts – and I’d love it if mothers did not wait for their baby’s first tooth to appear before taking them to the dentist’.

Brush-Baby founder, Dr Dominique Tillen, commented: ‘The good news is that mothers appear to be open to oral care for babies, with 60% saying they think that cleaning a baby’s gums or mouth is a good idea.

‘However, sadly our survey shows that almost three-quarters of mothers say that they have never seen any information on oral care for babies.’