Only 21% of parents in the United States say that their children have excellent oral health, according to the Dental Dental Plans Association Children’s Oral Health Survey.
As parents relinquish control of their children’s brushing and flossing habits, their children’s oral health appears to get worse. While 30% of parents say their children under the age of 3 have excellent oral health, that number drops to 21% for children between the ages of 3 and 5, 17% for those between the ages of 6 and 9, and 14% for those between 10 and 12.
Parents attribute this less than ideal oral health to not brushing enough (50%), not flossing enough (46%), eating too many sweets (37%), and a family history of poor oral health (21%).
“While most parents do not view their children’s mouths as pictures of model health, there is an opportunity to inspire healthy oral care habits at an early age,” said Joe Dill, DDS, MBA, the Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science and network strategy.
“Summer break from school can be especially difficult for maintaining proper oral hygiene, as normal daily routines may be disrupted,” said Dill. “Regularly remind kids to brush for two minutes twice a day, including during summer vacation.”
Delta Dental offers a free mobile app, Delta Dental Mobile, that is designed to keep the oral health of children on track with a toothbrush timer and other features. Optimized for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, it is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The Children’s Oral Health Survey was conducted between December 31, 2018, and January 13, 2019, among a nationally representative sample of 1,481 parents of children ages 12 and under.