The Dentist Magazine.

Strong Teeth Make Strong Kids

Published: 24/05/2018

Shocking research findings have revealed that 23 per cent of five-year-olds and nearly half (46 per cent) of eight-year-olds in the UK have obvious tooth decay in their primary teeth. Also, it was found that sadly, 35 per cent of 12-year-old children are too embarrassed to smile or laugh due to the condition of their teeth. These issues are particularly prevalent in UK children due to many factors, including poor oral care habits and nutrition.

Oral-B is on a mission to support UK parents and carers adopt appropriate home-based oral health behaviours and thereby reduce the number of children with toothache and dental problems through its #StrongTeethMakeStrongKids campaign.  Oral health experts from Oral-B and the University of Leeds have launched a research and education programme to give dental professionals and parents the right support to prevent these dental health issues. Peter Day, associate professor and consultant in paediatric dentistry at the University of Leeds, said, “Our research explored how dental teams can best support parents of young children to adopt appropriate oral health behaviours at home. We have examined the literature and undertaken qualitative interviews with focus groups to identify the challenges parents and dental teams face. These findings have provided the blueprint for the Strong Teeth oral health intervention.” 

Asked about the situation in the UK, Peter Days added, “In my clinic, I see far too many young children with dental decay. Unfortunately, many will have had toothache, sleepless nights, disturbed eating patterns and time off school and nursery. We know children with decay in their baby teeth are much more likely to develop decay in their permanent teeth. Establishing toothbrushing and healthy eating habits in early childhood is a strong predictor for oral health in adult life.” In response to this, Oral-B is on a mission to support UK parents adopt appropriate home-based oral health behaviours and thereby reduce the number of children with dental problems.

Oral-B’s “Strong Teeth Make Strong Kids” programme aims to educate and support parents on how they can help their children develop the right habits, as well as lay down a strong foundation for good oral health – for a healthy and confident smile for life.  “We are working closely with the UK’s dental professionals by aiming to provide up to 20,000 dental professionals this year with simple and engaging educational materials for parents and their children during routine check-ups. Oral-B is committed to take on this challenge to sustainably improve the situation in the UK”, says Jane Kidson, Oral-B professional team leader for the UK and Ireland.

Combined with the right dental care products, these positive oral health messages are designed to encourage parents to lead the way, so they can see that these oral health issues are mostly preventable with simple changes to their families’ daily oral care routine.

Oral-B’s educational materials that dental professionals can use to support the conversations that they are having with parents and carers include: 

  1. Brushing from first tooth to five years

  2. Friends and family can support healthy habits

  3. Make brushing fun for children

  4. Healthy eating can help protect teeth

Maintaining good oral health and establishing the right healthy habits early on will help children progress along the key ‘Strong Teeth’ milestones. They include their first dental visit, the arrival of their first tooth or teeth, and then the first time they use an electric power toothbrush (from age 3 onwards). Having a good oral health habits results in a healthy smile and that smile drives confidence, and that confidence is usually a key contributor to a better future for children.