10 April 2018

Child oral health: Habits in Australian homes

This paper presents findings on children's oral health from the last Royal Children's Hospital National Child Health Poll. The survey found that one in three (31%) preschoolers have never visited a dentist; one in four of all school-aged children (27%) and two in five preschoolers (39%) and more than half (58%) of infants and toddlers do not have their teeth brushed twice a day. One in four (23%) parents hold the misbelief that children only need to see the dentist if they have a problem with their teeth and more than three quarters (77%) of parents do not know that their children should see a dentist for their first check-up about age 12 months. Almost half of parents (48%) do not know that tap water, which contains fluoride, is better for teeth than bottled water and most (85%) do not know the maximum recommended daily intake of added sugar for children. About half of parents (49%) do not know that there might be free dental services available for their child. The report discusses the implications of these findings.