We all know that we should be putting the oral health of our children first. Despite this, it seems that there is still a significant proportion of children who are moving on from primary school without essential life skills like knowing how to properly brush their teeth.
In fact, a survey shared by the Oral Health Foundation found that 1 in 10 children are still leaving primary school without this skill.[i] These numbers are staggering, and if we apply this statistic to the general population, it would mean that literally hundreds of thousands of children are moving onto the next stage of education without knowing how to properly maintain good oral hygiene.
Although shocking, there have been clues about this sorry state of affairs for some time. Dental professionals have been aware of the childhood tooth decay crisis for a number of years now and making a number of moves to try and combat the situation, but worryingly it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
So, if you have children, what should you be doing to ensure they get the oral health education they need?
The first step is to make sure that you give them the right information and to start teaching them when they are young, as soon as their first teeth have come through. Brushing technique is essential, and you can find plenty of excellent resources that will show you how to properly teach your child to brush their teeth on YouTube or similar video sharing websites. It’s also important to choose a toothpaste with fluoride in it. Non-fluoride toothpastes are considerably less effective at protecting from decay, so when buying toothpaste for your children, make sure that you check out the fluoride content as well as find a flavour that they like so that tooth brushing doesn’t become something they actively avoid. You also need to ensure that children spit out as much of this toothpaste as possible after brushing (but don’t rinse their mouths with water or you will forego the protective benefits of the fluoride).
Interdental cleaning is also important. As time has gone on, we’ve learnt that cleaning between the teeth is just as important as brushing, so it’s a good idea to hunt for products that your children are capable of using by themselves to achieve this as they get older. For example, interdental brushes are an easy way to remove debris between teeth and they come in a variety of sizes that can fit all mouths.
Don’t be afraid to take the time to oversee tooth brushing as they get older to make sure that your children are doing it properly. If your children are struggling, perhaps set aside a couple of evenings per week to refresh their memories on technique and tell them about the things that can happen if their teeth do become decayed. It may be scary, but oral health is important for life, so the harsh reality is something you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about.
If children are the future, we need to instil good habits to ensure that they enter every stage of their life with the knowledge they need to keep their oral health in tip top condition. By taking the time to ensure your offspring are cleaning their teeth properly, you can prevent them from becoming part of the childhood tooth decay crisis and give them the skills they need to live a healthy lifestyle in the future.
For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999
[i] Oral Health Foundation. Startling New Survey Finds One In Ten children Leave School Unable to Brush Teeth. Link: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/startling-new-survey-finds-one-in-ten-children-leave-school-unable-to-brush-their-teeth [Last accessed February 2020].