Study suggests 10% of children can’t brush their teeth by the time they leave primary school

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A shocking study has suggested that 10% of children cannot brush their own teeth by the time they leave primary school.

Research conducted by Tic Watches found that 1 in 10 kids are unable to clean their teeth without help when they leave primary school. The company surveyed 500 parents with some rather alarming results.

As well as worrying statistics related to tooth cleaning, the poll also found that 16% of primary school leavers are unable to swim, 8% cannot dress themselves and 10% aren’t able to read and write full sentences. Ten percent of boys and 16% of girls cannot ride a bike at the age of 11-12 years old.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said that holding and using a toothbrush are vital skills that should be taught to children at a very young age. As soon as children demonstrate a willingness to grasp objects, parents can start to encourage them to hold a brush, and as they grow and develop, supervised brushing should be carried out. Children pick things up very quickly when they copy their parents, so Dr Carter urged parents to set a good example and to get involved in brushing with their kids. Dr Carter also suggested making tooth cleaning fun by playing games or brushing along to a song and adopting a routine that involves twice-daily brushing from an early age.

The statistics for tooth cleaning were particularly concerning among girls. Just 4 percent of parents said that their sons had difficulty brushing, compared to 15% of parents with daughters.

Brushing plays a crucial role in removing bacteria and food debris from the mouth to reduce the risk of plaque formation. Plaque contributes to decay, the most common cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK and Ireland.

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