Colgate Oral Health Month

How good are your children about brushing their teeth?  Actually, scrap that, how good are YOU at getting their teeth brushed?  A recent survey of 200 parents with children aged 1-10, commissioned to mark Colgate’s Oral Health Month*, revealed that almost 2 out of 3 mums and dads resort to rewarding their children in return for behaving properly and doing simple tasks– even brushing their teeth!  Yep 1 in 10 parents actually reward their children for cleaning their teeth.

Although it is not clear whether this is a star chart type reward or a physical one - please tell me it's not sweets or chocolate!! - we are not at all in favour of reward charts, bribes and the like here at Attachment Mummy, so read that statistic in horror.  Surely the intrinsic value and purpose of teeth cleaning is what we want to instil in our children, not some outside reward system for doing so!

Of course, it is not always easy to get our children to do what we want them to, but with a clearly defined approach to oral health from the youngest age, as well as encouraging children to start taking responsibility for their teeth brushing from early on (after being taught how of course), we can teach them just how important it is to look after their teeth.

Here's some more information from the study:

The Colgate survey also highlighted that children are consuming sugary foods on a regular basis, with 25% drinking fizzy drinks at least once a day and 33% of children eating chocolate every day.  Given that 40% of parents surveyed believe children’s milk teeth are less important than adult teeth, and only 34% admit to supervising the brushing of their children’s teeth for the dentist recommended 2 minutes, it is not surprising that the survey went on to reveal that by the age of 10, 25% of children have had at least one filling.

Bath based Dental Practitioner, Dr Simon Khoury (BDS)** comments:

“There is clearly still some uncertainty about the importance of children’s milk teeth and parents risk neglecting their young child's oral health needs.  Kids' teeth do matter.  Before they fall out, children are going to need healthy milk teeth to eat well, to have confidence smiling and speaking and to avoid the pain that can be caused by things such as tooth decay or infection.  Regularly visiting a dentist should enable effective prevention of problems.  This is always going to be easier than trying to solve problems after they have occurred.  Making tooth brushing and good oral hygiene a part of your child's daily routine ensures that they are set for a healthy future, without dental problems.”

“While overall oral health is improving, there are pockets of increased incidences of cavities or tooth decay amongst young children in the UK.  Many parents don’t realise that oral health at the age of 12 is a strong predictor of oral health in adult life, so it’s important that parents are doing everything they can, including positive reinforcement when brushing teeth, to ensure good oral health in their children.”

Here is a video of Dr Khoury telling us how we can help protect our children's oral health, from the youngest age:

* Colgate Oral Health Month takes place every September and aims to provide people around the country with useful information to increase awareness, understanding, and positive behaviour towards oral health.

** Dr Simon N Khoury BDS is a General Dental Practitioner at Northway Dental Practice in Bath, where he is responsible for everything from general check-ups to cosmetic dentistry. He is passionate about improving people’s dental health, dispelling myths that surround oral hygiene, and working to prevent dental diseases.