Delta survey notes parental difficulties with pediatric oral care

A new survey of more than 1,300 parents released by Delta Dental, in conjunction with National Parenting Month in March, states nearly half of parents (45%) say getting kids to brush their teeth is one of the most challenging things to get their kids to do.

Mar 4th, 2015

A survey of more than 1,300 parents released by Delta Dental, in conjunction with National Parenting Month in March, states nearly half of parents (45%) say getting kids to brush their teeth is one of the most challenging things to get their kids to do. That’s slightly higher than getting children to eat vegetables regularly (42%) or getting their help with household chores (41%). Forty-one percent of parents also said it was a challenge to get their kids to floss their teeth regularly.

The survey concluded that it’s not surprising most parents think their children’s oral health isn’t as good as it could be because they don’t brush (52%) or floss (38%) often enough. Almost a third (32%) of parents admit that their children’s teeth are brushed just once a day or less often, and a majority (61%) report their child’s teeth are flossed less often than once a day.

“At some point, most parents will struggle with getting their children to brush and floss. Until they are a little older, it’s hard for kids to understand the importance of oral health,” says Dr. Bill Kohn, Delta Dental Plans Association’s vice president of dental science and policy. “If parents make sure children’s teeth are brushed and flossed from a very young age, it becomes part of the routine without question.”

Parents are working to get on the right track, however, according to the survey. Fifty-eight percent of parents have specifically made oral hygiene a routine in their homes, and 31% have asked other family members to enforce good oral health habits. As far as their strategies to encourage good habits, parents are more likely to give rewards for good behavior (53%) than punish bad behavior (16%) to get their children to take care of their teeth.

  • Among parents who have taken recent action to improve their children’s oral health, nearly four in 10 (39%) are already doing this by brushing their teeth at the same time as their kids do.
  • More than half of parents (53%) say rewarding kids for good behavior would be the best way to get them more excited about improving oral health.
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