Sally Green and Adam Green get excited about brushing their teeth to keep their smiles.
Sally Green and Adam Green get excited about brushing their teeth to keep their smiles. Shannon Newley

Children's smiles under threat

THEY say a happy smile is always in style but Aussie children are in danger of losing theirs.

A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare exposed a concerning decline in teeth-brushing frequency among children.

The number of children brushing once a day or less jumped from eight per cent to 15%, and the number of children brushing twice a day dropped from 44 to 32% over a seven-year period.

Nine-year-old Sally Green said she saw the benefits of brushing twice a day.

“You won’t have anything to chew with and you won’t really look nice,” she said.

Dental hygienist and therapist at Southern Downs Dental, Lisa McFarlane, said brushing often was a must, but frequency was not the only issue contributing to decay.

“I find mostly a lot of parents let their kids brush their own teeth,” she said.

“A five year old is not going to be very good at brushing their teeth.”

Miss McFarlane said the right age for a child to clean their own teeth differed, but parents should still be brushing them at seven or eight years of age.

“A good way to do it is let the kids do it once a day and the parents do it once a day.”

She said it was also important to ensure little ones were brushing with fluoride toothpaste and not to become complacent because there was fluoride in the local water supply.



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