Strong teeth make strong kids!
Shocking research findings have revealed that 23% of 5-year-olds and nearly half (46%) of 8-year-olds in the UK2 have obvious tooth decay in their primary teeth. Also, it was found that sadly, 35% of 12-year-old children are too embarrassed to smile or laugh6 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.
Help through research & education: For parents – for children
Oral-B is on a mission to support UK parents and carers to adopt appropriate home-based oral health behaviours and thereby reduce the number of children with toothache and dental problems – all through its #StrongTeethMakeStrongKids - campaign. The 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 from now on.Peter Day, Associate Professor and Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry at the University of Leeds, about the research: “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 and focus groups to identify the challenges parents and dental teams face. These findings have provided the blueprint for Strong Teeth oral health intervention.”
Why a healthy mouth is so important for UK kids
Asked about the situation in the UK Peter Days adds: “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 UK & 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.
There’s more to good oral care than meets the eye
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.
About the University of Leeds Study
Oral-B wanted to understand the fundamental and systematic issues which brought about the UK’s child dental health situation, and funded an extensive study with the University of Leeds, analysing the how dental teams can best support parents of young children to adopt appropriate oral health behaviours. Leeds has a strong research expertise in the design and evaluation of complex oral health interventions (i-ii) . The findings from the Oral B funded study provided the blueprint for the Strong Teeth oral health intervention, including the creation of vital ready-to-use educational materials that Oral-B will provide to Dental Professionals across the country.
1. 23.3% had experience of dental decay with one of more teeth that were decayed to dentinal level, extracted or filled because of caries. Source: Public Health England. National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England: oral health survey of five-year-old children 2017.
2. In their primary teeth. Source: National Health Service Child Dental Health Survey 2013.
3. Due to tooth decay. Tooth extracted under general anaesthetic. Source: Public Health England Health Matters: Child Dental Health 2017.
4. Children with decay waiting for dental treatment In hospital. Source: Public Health England Health Matters: Child Dental Health 2017.
5. Children with decay waiting for dental treatment in hospital. Source: Public Health England Health Matters: Child Dental Health 2017
6. Due to tooth decay or missing teeth. Source: National Health Service Child Dental Health Survey 2013
References for University of Leeds complex intervention studies:
(i). Eskyte I, Gray-Burrows K, Owen J et al. HABIT-an early phase study to explore an oral health intervention delivered by health visitors to parents with young children aged 9-12 months: study protocol. Pilot Feasibility Studies. 2018;4(1):68.
(ii). Gray-Burrows KA, Day PF, Marshman Z et al. Using intervention mapping to develop a home-based parental supervised toothbrushing intervention for young children. Implement Sci. 2015;11(1):61.
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