Many Children Not Following Toothbrushing Recommendations

Almost 80 percent start brushing later than recommended; 34.2 percent brush just once a day

THURSDAY, Feb. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Most children are not brushing their teeth early enough, and many are not using the proper amount of toothpaste, according to research published in the Feb. 1 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Gina Thornton-Evans, D.D.S., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues used 2013 to 2016 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate patterns of toothbrushing and toothpaste use among children and adolescents. Parents or caregivers answered questions regarding when the child started to brush teeth, age when the child started to use toothpaste, frequency of toothbrushing each day, and amount of toothpaste used currently or at the time of the survey.

The researchers found that >38 percent of children aged 3 to 6 years used more toothpaste than is recommended by the CDC and other professional organizations. In addition, almost 80 percent of children aged 3 to 15 years started brushing their teeth later than recommended. Approximately one-third (34.2 percent) of them brushed only once daily.

"Parents and caregivers can play a role in ensuring that children are brushing often enough and using the recommended amount of toothpaste," the authors write.

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