A survey for Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, covering the oral health of almost 4000 children, found one in three preschoolers had never been to the dentist. One in 10 needed a filling because of tooth decay and one in 20 had been admitted to hospital to treat it.
Perth preschooler Rosanna Collins, 3, brushes her teeth twice a day, initially helped by her father Simon in front of a mirror and is now happy to do it herself under supervision.
But the child health poll found almost 40 per cent of children her age were not vigilant in brushing their teeth.
Paediatrician and director of the annual poll Anthea Rhodes said poor habits and confusion over oral health were setting up children for a lifetime of tooth decay.
“These results are more concerning that we expected, and for the first time we can see that many parents are confused about what they need to do to keep their child’s teeth healthy,” she said.
“Tooth decay is largely preventable yet rates in young children are rising and parents need to made aware of how to prevent decay in their children from infancy.”
The poll found that one in five preschoolers had sugary drinks on most days, and some toddlers were regularly put to bed with a bottle of milk or sweetened drink.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.