Oral health lessons for kids

New lessons launched by the ADA allow for oral health to be taught in schools Australia-wide.

Oral health lessons are being launched in early learning centres and schools as research shows little more than half of Australian adults brush their teeth twice a day.

The Australian Dental Association and SugarByHalf are behind the new suite of lessons that integrate oral health into mainstream learning.

An ADA survey conducted late last year found only 53 per cent of Australian people were brushing their teeth twice a day.

ADA Oral Health promoter Dr Mikaela Chinotti said the research uncovered some concerning trends.

“Worryingly, of those respondents who only brushed once a day, 12 per cent thought brushing more often wasn’t good for the teeth, while 37 per cent said they didn’t need to,” Dr Chinotti said.

“And 29 per cent of those who didn’t brush twice a day said this was because it caused pain and discomfort – which points to a very real need for these people to see their dentist.

“These results show there’s still some way to go, and education forms a large part of that.”

The suite of lessons use the purpose-built storybook Guardians of the Gums, which has been produced in collaboration with Cool Australia.

The lessons will be used by teachers to integrate oral health into everyday maths and science lessons, aiming to help kids make nutritional food and drink choices for early learning through to Year 2.

These lessons allow for oral health to be taught in schools Australia-wide, in alignment with the national curriculum.

Other findings from the 2020 ADA Adult Oral Health Tracker which demonstrate the need for greater education include:

– Only a quarter of adults floss at least once a day, with 31 per cent reporting to ‘never’ clean between their teeth.

– Two-thirds of adults aren’t aware that medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease can impact on, or be impacted by, their oral health

– 13 per cent of parents reported their children drank soft drink daily, while 39 per cent consumed soft drink 2-5 times per week. Just one can of soft drink takes people above the recommended daily sugar intake and can contribute to tooth decay and weight gain

– 10 per cent of parents report taking their child to the dentist only when they have a problem, and 60 per cent do so every 12-24 months

– 32 per cent of people aged above 15 have untreated tooth decay