Oral health starts not when you visit the dentist but from when you wake up in the morning until you go to sleep at night
Kids ‘doing well’ with oral health
The majority of Australian children are taking the necessary steps to look after their oral health, a study has found.
Carried out by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the research showed that in most cases, kids are engaging in behaviours that are in line with official guidelines.
For example, 99 per cent of youngsters brushed their teeth with toothpaste, while more than two-thirds brushed twice a day.
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Brushing with fluoride toothpaste was found to be the most common behaviour of Australian kids, although there were some discrepancies in the use of fluoride tablets and drops.
These, and the use of fluoride mouthwash, were largely dependent on family income, residential remoteness and parental education.
Children from higher income families typically brush their teeth most often and were likely to use children’s toothpaste and toothbrushes from a young age.
Responding to the report, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) said that the findings suggest that oral health promotion and education is important to helping Australians maintain their oral health.
Furthermore, the group said that the data proved very encouraging.
ADA president Dr Shane Fryer said: “It confirms the ADA’s view that oral health prevention starts not when you visit the dentist but from when you wake up in the morning and continues until you go to sleep at night.
“Children adopting the right behaviours early in their life ultimately means they should have fewer dental problems later in life.”
Even though the report was largely positive, the ADA indicated that there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to the behaviour of kids from lower income backgrounds.
For example, children with high-earning parents were more likely to have used fluoride tablets or drops and typically used them for longer than those from low-income backgrounds.
Nonetheless, youngsters with low-earning parents were found to use fluoride supplements more frequently than their peers.
Younger children were found to be less inclined to use fluoride mouthwash than their older counterparts, with less than a quarter of them using it every day.
Nearly two-thirds of those who had used the product did so just a few times a week, or perhaps even more infrequently.