Health Stories

Getting to the tooth about brushing

The importance of good oral health!

It’s the simplest of tasks but new research shows nearly 50 per cent of children don’t brush their teeth twice a day. While most parents talk to their children about the importance of good oral health, nearly three quarters say they struggle to get their children to take care of their pearly whites, according to research by Life Education.

In fact, kids are using all sorts of tricks to get out of the task from running their toothbrush under water, eating toothpaste and turning the tap on to deceive their parents. To try to combat the problem parents are offering incentives but they’re also looking for support in encouraging their children to develop healthy habits.

“Although more than 90 per cent of parents say they talk to their children about the importance of oral hygiene, we know kids don’t always listen,” says Kellie Sloane of Life Education. “In fact, three out of five parents surveyed said their kids are more likely to listen to the advice of dentists or health educators.

So how can parents engage their children to take better care of their precious teeth? Dentist and Philips Sonicare ambassador Dr Rick Iskander has five tips to improve kids’ brushing game:

BE POSITIVE

Being a positive role model is vital, according to Rick, who says kids need to see their parents enjoying brushing their teeth. By creating a fun time around the task, kids will enjoy it more and will be less able to use cheeky tactics to avoid the task.

START YOUNG

Preventing tooth decay is simpler, cheaper and less painful than having to cure it so get in early with good oral habits. As Rick says: “We only get one set of adult teeth and it’s very important to take care of them.”

INVEST IN THE BEST DENTAL TECHNOLOGY

Kids love gadgets so consider investing in an electric toothbrush such as the Philips Sonicare for Kids, not just because it has superior cleaning technology but because it comes with a fun interactive app to teach kids about cleaning teeth through play.

VISIT YOUR DENTIST

Ask your dentist to chat to your kids about their oral health. Kids always listen to those in authority more than their parents and health professionals are trained to get their messages across. Plus there’s often free stuff – like toothpaste!

LET THEM CHOOSE THEIR TOOLS

By engaging kids in the colour of their toothbrush or the flavour of their toothpaste they’ll have greater ownership over the experience and feel more inclined to do a better job!

This article originally appeared on New Idea

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