In line with the low priority that most people place on dental hygiene, a recent national survey revealed that as many as 75% of parents in the US admit that their children sometimes or frequently fail to brush their teeth on a daily basis. This is perhaps the biggest factor that makes tooth decay the top chronic disease of children in the country.
Tooth decay is most certainly a disease, but unlike other diseases, parents tend to accept it as something inevitable and not such a big deal. But tooth decay is highly preventable, and it is a serious problem not only because it affects the child’s health but also their school performance. It is estimated that a total of 51 million hours of school is missed by American children because of dental problems.
There are various efforts to raise awareness about the importance of dental health in families such as the public service ads for the campaign Kids’ Health Mouths by the non-profit organizations Ad Council and Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, but they will be of no avail if parents don’t take a hand. Good dental habits need to be formed early in life and parents have to take the time to teach their children the importance good dental hygiene the minute they hold their first toothbrush.
Such ad campaigns may have more impact if the parents themselves consider dental hygiene a priority even for themselves, and perhaps that should be the primary focus since children tend to emulate what adults do. In the campaigns, emphasis is placed on encouraging children to brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Most adults don’t bother to brush their own teeth for that long, so why would kids? Minority and low-income families may be disproportionally represented in cases of poor oral hygiene, but mainstream and middle-class families are just as guilty of giving oral health adequate importance.Read More