Australian family routines have been significantly impacted in recent months, with many of us baking more (45 per cent), brushing our teeth less and ordering more takeaway food (40 per cent), according to new research.
Marking the start of Dental Health Week today (3–9 August), a national survey of Australian parents released by Life Education and Philips Sonicare reveals 42 per cent of children’s dental routines have changed recently, with 62 per cent of parents admitting this was a shift away from positive habits, such as brushing teeth less than twice a day or only brushing for a short time. Parents themselves have also been affected, with 35 per cent confessing their own dental routine has been impacted.
The research also revealed the impact of lockdown on our eating habits, with 38 per cent of parents admitting their children’s diets have changed in recent months due to additional snacking. As a result, 31 per cent of children’s sugar intakes have also increased, with popular treats enjoyed including chocolate and lollies (51 per cent), baked goods (46 per cent) and ice cream (44 per cent). Similarly, nearly half of parents (47 per cent) concede their own diets have slipped recently.
Visiting the dentist has been another pain point for Australian families. Despite 86 per cent of parents recognising their children should see the dentist at least once, if not twice, a year, 30 per cent admit their children haven’t been in over 12 months.
These combined changes to diet and dental routines have had a big impact on our overall health and wellbeing, and Life Education’s Kellie Sloane said more education is required to help families get their healthcare back on track.
“When it comes to resetting good health habits, families need support. Our research shows parents are finding it difficult to maintain their children’s dental routine. This is where Life Education can help. The last few months have been tough for all of us. The Life Education program includes messages about dental health and our online resources can help families with tips and support.
“Prevention is always better than cure, and healthy habits, such as choosing foods with less processed sugars and encouraging our children to take care of their dental health, will pay off in the long run.
“Although more than 85 per cent of parents rate the importance of their children’s oral health as eight out of 10 or higher, we all know it’s easier said than done. Engaging parents to speak to their children about oral health from a young age means they will be more likely to develop lifelong healthy habits,” said Sloane.
Philips Sonicare Dentist Dr Rick Iskandar said Dental Health Week is the perfect time to reflect on recent months and reignite healthy routines.
“To think so many children and parents are not brushing their teeth twice a day is worrying, especially in light of this new evidence that our overall sugar intake has increased recently.
“Dental technology has come a long way and there are some amazing products that will ensure your family’s oral health is in safe hands. Dental health experts are also a wealth of knowledge and can provide tips for both parents and kids. This is an excellent first step in building, or re-building, your oral health care routine,” said Dr Iskandar.
Find out how to revamp your family's dental health routine in 5 easy steps