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Dads not good with teeth brushing

A recent poll of almost 2,000 people has found that 68 per cent of us say it’s our mum who taught us how to brush our teeth as a child


The findings commissioned in a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation revealed we are almost four times as likely to be a self-taught brusher than we are to have been taught by our father.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE from the Foundation said: “Your child’s oral health plays a key part in their early years’ wellbeing, and your help and support will go a long way to ensuring they remain on the right path.

“Numerous studies have shown that children who learn good habits early are far more likely to carry them into adulthood and the ability to pick up a solid oral health routine is no different.”

Less than half of parents questioned said they teach their children how to brush their teeth before the age of two, with 23 per cent showing them the dental ropes between two and five years old.

The survey was carried out to address the UK’s attitudes and behaviours towards their oral health and comes as a new dental scheme in Scotland has revealed its helped save £5m per year in avoided treatment costs.

The programme called ‘Childsmile’ offers every child attending nursery free daily supervised tooth brushing.

Scotland’s Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “We’ve made great progress since 2007 in improving access to NHS dentists – with 92 per cent of Scottish children now registered.

“The success of the Childsmile programme speaks for itself, saving millions of pounds and making such a difference to youngsters’ oral health.

“This is a really tremendous example of spending to save. The Childsmile programme show’s what can be achieved when we have a real focus on prevention – in particular in the world of public health.”

Figures suggest the number of primary one children with “no obvious decay experience” has risen from 54 per cent in 2006 to 68 per cent in 2014.

The scheme is also designed to offer mums, dads and carers dietary advice for children to help prevent tooth decay.

Oral health disorders are the most common reason for child hospital admissions in Scotland, accounting for over 10,000 admissions every year.

As part of the programme youngsters are also given free toothbrushes, toothpaste and two fluoride varnish applications per year.

The British Dental Health Foundation recommends children should start visiting the dentist with their parents as soon as possible.

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