It seems that the kids are only just back into school and the family routine is starting to return to normal - yet somehow October half term is already almost upon us! After relaxing the rules over summer and letting the children get away with a little more than they’d usually be able to - including many a late night - most families have finally restored order and set the standard for the months ahead. However, most parents will admit to occasionally turning a blind eye to tooth brushing during school holidays in order to keep the peace - but did you know that insufficient brushing is now a huge problem that is putting UK children’s oral health at risk? With the growing trend for celebrating halloween with sweet treats, now is a particularly important time to be tooth aware.
Gone in 30 seconds
We all know that adults and children alike should brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Yet according to a recent survey commissioned by Playbrush and reported on Dentistry.co.uk, an alarming number of children are brushing their teeth for less than 30 seconds. Researchers found that as many as 12% of children brush for less than half a minute, whilst almost two thirds clean their teeth for no more than a minute and a half. Such statistics have serious implications for the future, with children being exposed to a much higher risk of problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. These can persist into adulthood, even if your child still has only milk teeth.
Too bored to brush
There are many reasons that children are neglecting their brushing, but according to the research, in most cases it comes down to a simple problem - children don’t enjoy brushing, and parents don’t enjoy the inevitable conflict situation that tends to arise when they have to step into the role of ‘enforcer’ rather than ‘encourager’. The research indicated that as many as 40% of children stated they had tried to avoid brushing simply because it’s ‘boring’.
Catch me if you can
Children are no fools and will stop at nothing to wriggle out of brushing. Some of the top techniques identified by the researchers included:
- Crying (17%)
- Throwing tantrums (21%)
- Claiming to have brushed when they hadn’t (50%)
- Trying to bargain (21%)
- Hiding (21%)
- Hiding items for brushing such as toothbrush and toothpaste (5%).
All this can add up to a recipe for disaster, with as many as a quarter of parents reporting that they’d lost their temper whilst getting their children to brush their teeth. The risk is that in order to simply keep the peace and survive bathroom time, parents will inevitably settle for anything that looks like the vaguest attempt at teeth brushing.
Encouraging better brushing
In order to ensure that your children are not risking their future dental health, it is essential to encourage better brushing and explore new ways to capture your child’s attention and keep them engaged. There are many different approaches, such as games, videos and even technology such as mobile phone apps. It is worth noting that whilst these may help, they can also prove to be a distraction. Ultimately, it is a case of trial and error until you find what works best for you and your family.
Here at Field House Dental Practice in Wadhurst, we pride ourselves in providing the very best in family dentistry in a caring and compassionate environment. We recommend that all of our child patients see our hygienist on a regular basis so that she can make sure they are doing things properly and home and using the right techniques and for the right time! In fact, our hygienist Heather frequently visits schools to explain the importance of excellent brushing. The latest was Wadhurst Primary School only this week.
To book an appointment now or to enquire about becoming a member, call us today on 01892 782300.