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Tricks of the trade: children avoid brushing teeth

Thursday, 4 Jul 2019

Despite going to great lengths to get their children to brush their teeth, parents report that only half are brushing twice a day, according to our latest research.

We surveyed Australian parents, in partnership with Philips Sonicare, revealing an overwhelming 71% of parents struggle to get their children to brush their teeth. The task becomes even more difficult during school holiday periods, with 62% of parents agreeing it’s harder to maintain healthy brushing habits during this time as kids fall out of their usual routine.

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

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

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% 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%) 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 that as we approach the school holidays it’s the perfect time to reignite the conversation around children’s oral healthcare education in Australia.

“It’s staggering to think only half of Aussie children (52%) 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.”

Helping children to understand how to keep their bodies healthy, oral hygiene plays a role in both our preschool and primary modules. Book a visit for your school today.

About the research
The Life Education Parent Survey on children’s oral health habits was conducted on behalf of Life Education Australia by Pureprofile. The 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.