Nearly one in five children say they dislike their smile, new study finds

Almost one in eight children have woken up from a bad dream about their oral health, it has been revealed

Almost one in five (18%) children under the age of five have opened up to their parent about not liking their own smile, it has been revealed.

This is according to a new study carried out by the Oral Health Foundation.

Almost one in eight (12%) children have woken up from a bad dream about their oral health. The research shows that children are more than 10 times more likely to experience teeth-related nightmares than an adult.

Bad dreams about the mouth are more common among youngsters, impacting almost one in five (18%) children under the age of five.

Additionally, the findings reveal almost one in two (47%) children have voiced anxieties and worries to their parents about their oral health.

Increased screens during lockdown

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, the chief executive of Oral Health Foundation, believes younger children are becoming more aware of the appearance of their mouth and teeth.

He thinks this has something to do with the increased use of screens, social media and televisions.

‘It is really common for children between the ages of three and five to suffer from nightmares,’ he said.

‘This is the time when their imagination begins to develop. Along with the experiences they collect throughout the day, this can influence the state of their dreams.

‘Younger children are being exposed to more television and social media. These aesthetics of a smile do not represent what can be considered normal or naturally-achievable.  This paints a false image of what their teeth should look like and can create lasting insecurities.

‘With more video calls to family and friends, especially during lockdown, children are also seeing themselves on screen far more often.

‘This too makes them more conscious of their appearance.’

The study also found that one in four (29%) of children under five have spoken to their parents about changing how their smile looks.

Carried out as part of National Smile Month, the study collected data from around 1,500 British parents.

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