Teeth are important I am sure we can all agree on that. And I can’t imagine there’s many people who enjoy going to the dentist. But why do we have such poor habits for brushing our teeth? Research* on behalf of FOREO revealed that in the UK it seems that we have poor attitudes to oral hygiene, which appears to be due to not establishing good habits in childhood. Finds show that almost half of children (48%) ages 3-5 years old have tooth decay! It can be a challenge to get children to brush their teeth but good practices need to start young to avoid tooth decay and fillings. The survey found that almost half of children (44%) of children under the age of 16 in the UK have at least one filling; with 71% having more than one! What are the reasons for this and what can be done about it?
High sugary diets, bad brushing routines and poor role models seem to account for this high percentage of neglect in our mouths. Certain bacteria on the teeth uses the sugars from food to produce acids which dissolves enamel, we need to establish good brushing twice a day for two minutes each, concentrating on each of the four quadrants of the mouth for 30 seconds each. But how are children expected to do this when adults are unable to put it as a priority themselves.
The research found that adults in the UK:
- Did not manage to dedicate the four minutes every day on their teeth due to being low on time or energy (23%).
- Less than half do not brush their teeth for the recommended 2 minutes and over a quarter (26%) only brush their teeth for up to a minute.
- Nearly a ¼ (24%) brush their teeth less frequently than twice a day. 23% of us have gone 2 days or more without brushing our teeth – Nearly half (44%) of 18-24 year olds being guilty of this – with 19% of this age group (19%) going longer at 3 days or more.
- Men are more likely to neglect their teeth (29%) compared with 17% of women.
- 20% of people only brush their teeth once a day.
- And more than one in five 35-54 year olds have not brushed their teeth when they are drunk.
It is surprising that we do not take more care of our teeth and gums at home considering how much we do not seem to want to visit the dentist! 37% of people said that they did not take their child to the dentist for the first time until they were 5 or older. It is not shocking though when you consider that over half of adults (51%) do not go to the dentist every 6 months; 1 in 5 (19%) of people visited the dentist less frequently than a year and 4% have NEVER been. 1 in 5 people (21%) said that it was fear that prevented them going more often. Dentists can spot problems before they occur and can help make a simple change of habits (such as cutting back on orange juice) to help prevent things before they get worse. The consequences of avoiding the dentist include not going are fillings or painful extractions.
So what is the answer? Start early and make oral hygiene fun and part of every-day life. Set up a good routine as early as possible. Invest in a good toothbrush, such as from the Sweden-based FOREO ISSA ™ family which come in a range of great colours. The ISSA ™ Mikro is an electric toothbrush designed for infants up to four years old. It can easily be manoeuvred around baby teeth at any angle and with two different massage modes can help to relieve itchy gums during teething, as well as lifting away plaque. Get them to understand when they are expected to brush their teeth and for how long. This can be achieved by the use of the in-built timers (the younger children’s brushes have light-up `glee and glum’ to signal when brushing time is up too). They are 100% waterproof so you can even use them in the bath! You could make a game out of brushing teeth – and even let them practice on their favourite toy.
Of course it is important to lead by example this means a good diet and brushing habits! For teenagers and their parents there is the FOREO ISSA ™ 2 which has a pair of sonic electric toothbrushes that combine state-of-the-art technology with unparalleled durability. The gentle pulsations provide an effective clean and a gentle gingival massage to help thicken gum tissue, making them more resistant to bacterial infections. With 16 adjustable speeds, the sonic pulse technology has 11,000 high-intensity pulsations per minute. It has two bristle types made from PBT polymer and medical grade silicone – which harbour 10,000 LESS bacteria than nylon brush heads and lasts twice as long in comparison. Micro-sweeps offer a professional and gentle clean, which gently hug the gums to remove 30% more plaque than a manual toothbrush – and prevents cavities and tartar. Unlike other electric toothbrushes they do not require regular charging (the FOREO ISSA ™ 2 lasts 365 days with only a one hour charge!) so that eliminates the toothbrush is dead excuse, as well as being ideal to take away on holiday!
In conclusion if we want children to take good care of their teeth we need to make sure that a fun oral hygiene routine is established at a young age. We need to be good role models (including our diets as well as brushing habits), use great products from an early age such as those from the FOREO family and make sure we utilise the dentist (who is free for children in the UK).
But now I am curious – how many of these facts apply to you or your family? Do you brush your teeth regularly? Even after a drunken night out?
- FOREO ISSA ™ MIKRO is available from foreo.com RRP £79
- ISSA ™ 2 mini 2 is available from Selfridges RRP £99
- FOREO ISSA ™ 2 Sensitive RRP £169 and FOREO ISSA ™ 2 RRP £149 are available from John Lewis and Boots.com
I was invited to a FOREO Event with my family. Opinions are my own. Facts stated are from a *survey conducted by Atomik Research on behalf of FOREO among 2,002 UK adults aged 18+ including 1,000 parents of under 16s.