More than three-quarters of Australian parents are unaware of when they should take their baby to see a dentist.

Parents need to brush up on oral health

November 14, 2019 BY

New research, commissioned by the Oral Health Advisory Panel (OHAP), has revealed some worrying insights into Australians’ oral health habits.

Many parents value appearance over the health of their children’s teeth and are being unaware of the guidelines when it comes to oral health.

76 per cent of parents are unaware of when they should take their baby to see a dentist, 77 per cent of parents are mistakenly allowing their young children to brush their own teeth much too early, and 92 per cent of Australian adults are unaware of what the early stages of tooth decay look like.

These are just some of the alarming results revealed in the OHAP Oral Health Care Study 2019, an annual survey that looks at the oral health of Australians. Another area of great concern was that around one third of Australian adults place the visual appearance of their teeth and having fresh breath above having healthy gums and cavity-free teeth.

Christine Morris, a public health advocate and OHAP founding member, was shocked at the survey findings. “It is very disappointing to discover that Australians are not getting the message about oral health,” she said. “People are valuing appearance over the health of their teeth and are unaware of the guidelines when it comes to the oral health of their children.”

She was particularly concerned that so many parents are mistakenly allowing their young children to brush their teeth unsupervised. “Children under the age of eight years do not have the manual dexterity required to brush their teeth effectively. It is vitally important that parents assist their children until they are at least eight years old, to help prevent decay and a lifetime of potential future health problems.”

The survey also revealed that parents are unaware of the recommendations that a baby should visit the dentist as soon as their first tooth arrives, or by the age of one year if teeth are yet to erupt.