Parents ‘significantly impact’ children’s development of oral habits

Moving from the NHS to private practice – the thorny issue of charging for children

Parents can significantly impact the development of healthy oral habits for their children by modelling healthy behaviours for them. 

This was the conclusion of a recent study carried out in the Journal of Oral Health.

The study assessed parents’ attitudes about and understanding of oral health practice. Researchers found that a preschool child’s oral health depends heavily on their parents’ awareness.

This study used systematic review and meta-analyses statement when assessing knowledge, attitude and perception practice (KAP) studies related to the oral health of children. These were all peer reviewed and appeared in scientific journals from April 2009 to September 2021.

Need for education

‘Parents’ awareness of their attitudes and knowledge of their children’s oral health could be higher,’ the authors concluded.

‘Parents can significantly impact the development of healthy oral habits for their children by modelling healthy behaviours for them. There is a need to educate society about deciduous teeth, their importance and the necessity of visiting the dentist regularly.

They also highlighted the importance of teaching expecting and new mothers about baby oral health care, including the use of nursing bottles at night and routine dental visits.

They added: ‘This study reveals a new facet of the crucial function played by the paedodontics triangle in planning parental oral health education initiatives. First, the public needs to be made more aware of the value and necessity of a first visit to the dentist.

‘Because of this, oral health educators who run awareness campaigns in various settings and communities will find this study thought-provoking.’

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Increase decay

This comes as nearly four in five health practitioners report seeing higher rates of children’s tooth decay or damage.

The survey aimed to understand the impact of child hunger on children’s health over the past year.

Speaking to 313 school nurses and dentists, the report found that two thirds said the health issues facing children had worsened in the past year. Almost one third (28%) said that children were experiencing an increase in the incidence or severity of health problems to a large extent

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