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How to avoid tooth decay in children

28 August 2015

Short video shows how to teach your children to brush properly

The videos were produced after research showed that most parents, along with many health professionals, had never been given any specific training or advice about looking after children's teeth.

They were funded through the HRB Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (KEDS) which aims to accelerate the transfer of research knowledge quickly into improvements in health services and health care.    

According to the lead researcher on the project Dr Carmel Parnell, from HSE Louth Meath and University College Cork,

'Happy Teeth started off as a project to improve the dental health of preschool children. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in childhood. Approximately one third of three-year olds have cavities and two out of five children in Ireland have tooth decay by the time they start school.

That's worrying', Dr Parnell adds, 'because it can lead to problems with pain, abscess and infections which require antibiotics, and store up problems for future adult teeth.

However, it is a very preventable situation. If we can get all pre-school children brushing their teeth twice a day, there are enormous societal health gains to be made.

Part of our research investigated what parents and people working with preschool children thought about children’s baby teeth and what they knew about looking after them. 

Most people working with preschool children, and more than 80% of parents, told us they had never been given any training in looking after children’s teeth. Everybody we spoke to was really interested in learning more, so we decided to create some videos that show how to properly brush a child's teeth'.

The video is available to view at the link below.

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