May 12, 2019

Despite going to great lengths to get their kids to brush their teeth, parents report that only half of Aussie kids are brushing twice a day, according to new research from Life Education.

A national survey of Australian parents released by Life Education in partnership with Philips Sonicare reveals an overwhelming 71 per cent of parents struggle to get their children to brush their teeth.*

Two in three parents (66 per cent) admit their children are getting creative as they try to avoid brushing their teeth, using tricks such as running their toothbrush under water (34 per cent), eating toothpaste (29 per cent) and turning the tap on in the bathroom (29 per cent) in an attempt to deceive mum and dad.

The research also found more than half of parents (51 per cent) have resorted to offering special incentives to encourage their children to brush their teeth, including treats (38 per cent), a gold star (34 per cent) and even money (21 per cent).

Life Education’s Kellie Sloane said overwhelmingly, Australian parents are calling for more oral health education to help kids develop healthy lifelong habits.

“When it comes to setting up good oral health habits for their kids, parents need support. Although more than 90 per cent of parents say they talk to their children about the importance of oral hygiene, we all know kids don’t always listen. In fact, three out of five parents surveyed (63 per cent) said their kids are more likely to listen to the advice of dentists or health educators.

“Prevention is always better than cure. We only get one set of adult teeth and it’s very important to take care of them. Engaging children with their oral health from a young age means they will be more likely to develop healthy lifelong habits.”

Philips Sonicare Ambassador and Principal Dentist at Tailored Teeth Dr Rick Iskandar said it’s time to reignite the conversation around children’s oral healthcare education in Australia.

“It’s staggering to think only half of Aussie children (52 per cent) are brushing their teeth twice day – putting the other half at risk of a lifetime of painful tooth decay. It shows more education is needed to teach kids proper oral hygiene habits early on.

“It can be hard getting kids engaged with their brushing, they’re much more interested in playing games and having fun. So why not bring the fun into their brushing routine? There are some great tools out there such as the Philips Sonicare For Kids electric toothbrush” said Dr Iskandar.

We spoke to Dr Rick Iskandar about his top tips to get children more engaged in their brushing routine: 

Be there and be positive

As a parent, it’s so important to be a positive role model for your kids, especially when it comes to their oral health. Be there and be positive about brushing your own teeth – if your kids can see you enjoying it, they will too! Not only does this set a good example but it will create fun and engaging family time that the kids can look forward to. It will also mean they can’t use cheeky tactics to avoid brushing their teeth!

Start young

Prevention is always better than cure. We only get one set of adult teeth and it’s very important to take care of them. Engaging children with their oral health from a young age means they will be more likely to develop healthy lifelong habits.

Invest in the best dental technology

Dental technology has come a long way and there are some amazing products will ensure your children’s oral health is in safe hands. I recommend the Philips Sonicare For Kids electric toothbrush to my patients because it combines best-in-class cleaning technology with a fun and highly interactive app to teach kids about oral healthcare through play.

Visit your dentist

Make the most of your regular check-ups and ask your dental team to chat to your kids about the importance of looking after their oral health. Although more than 90 per cent of parents say they talk to their kids about the importance of oral hygiene, we all know kids don’t always listen. In fact, three out of five parents surveyed (63 per cent) said their kids are more likely to listen to the advice of dentists or health educators, such as the Life Education program, with its lovable and memorable mascot Healthy Harold the giraffe.

Let them choose the tools

Whether it’s the flavour of the toothpaste or the colour of the toothbrush, let your kids make the decisions when it comes to their oral health. Picking out their own tools will keep them engaged and make it a more enjoyable experience

*About the research:

The Life Education Parent Survey on children’s oral health habits was conducted on behalf of Life Education Australia by Pureprofile. Research was conducted online in March 2019 using a sample of more than 1,000 Australian parents aged 18+. The survey was sponsored by Philips Sonicare.

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  • Buying them treats to eat to get them to brush their teeth seems counter productive to me.

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  • Bhgft

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  • We had this problem with one of my kids is always tried to avoid brushing teeth. I bought an interesting digital timer, which helped.
    Also this book Karius & Bactus helped ! https://www.amazon.com.au/Karius-Bactus-Thorbjorn-Egner/dp/0961539410

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  • I am more interested in the fact that parents buy water for their children – so why are we adding fluoride to all our dams for drinking water when the children don’t drink it?

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  • I’m amazed sometimes by the effort by kids will go to to avoid cleaning their teeth.

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  • Electric brushes can be very interesting to kids. We always brush our teeth at least twice a day.

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  • Our youngest has been asking to clean his teeth since before he was 2 y.o. He has older siblings so he is probably copying also he asks when they are not home. We now let him clean his teeth when he asks apart from after meals as he tends to snack a lot when he is having a growth spurt. We find it is better to let him clean his teeth, then we clean them. He gets frustrated and doesn’t want them cleaned at all otherwise.

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  • This is so cute and such a great idea

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  • I’m Glad my kids love brushing their teeth!

    Reply

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