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News / August 28, 2009

Dental survey reveals late start for children

by Guy Hiscott

New research into children’s dental health habits has found that children are not going to the dentist early enough. More than half of parents polled stated their child’s first dental visit was by age four. The European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry recommends that a child be seen by a dentist in the first year of life (EAPD November 2008).

The survey also found that approximately 85% of parents surveyed stated their children receive a dental exam once a year, which is much higher than the national average of 30% found in the National Survey of Children’s Dental Health.

Over 90% of respondents stated that their children brush their teeth at least twice a day and more than half of children change his/her toothbrush every three months. Further, almost 70% of parents polled indicated their children consume, on average, not more than two sugar drinks and/or treats per day.

The survey also found that 90% of respondents have not experienced any reduction in tooth fairy payments since the start of the recession. The average Irish gift is €3.70 per tooth, which is almost double the average gift that US children received this year.

The research was conducted by Vhi DeCare via an on-line survey sent to 1,633 of the dental benefit provider’s current policyholders.