Each year, more than 51 million school hours are lost as a result of problems related to tooth decay, the most common chronic childhood disease in America.1 Yet according to a recent survey by Trident®, more than eight in 10 (84%) American parents don’t realize this.

Tooth decay affects approximately half of all second graders and nearly 80 percent of 17-year-olds. Despite this, nearly three-quarters (74%) of U.S. parents don’t necessarily consider tooth decay to be a chronic childhood disease.   However, many parents do recognize that, if left untreated, tooth decay can negatively impact a child’s well-being, self-esteem, or even concentration level.

The cause resonated with Chris O’Donnell, someone accustomed to striking a smile on many red carpets.

The Importance of Education

It’s no surprise that education can play a large role in preventing cavities. Nine in 10 (92%) parents believe cavities in children are preventable, yet a majority of parents (86%) struggle to get a child to take care of their teeth.

While convincing a child to take proper care of his or her teeth is no easy task, here are a few important reminders for parents:

  • The foods children consume also can have an impact on oral health. For example, foods such as cheeses, fruits and vegetables can help build strong teeth and gums. On the flip side, overindulging in foods that are sticky or sugary can have a negative impact on teeth and gums. That’s why it’s important to have children floss once a day to remove food and plaque that can get stuck between and on teeth.
  • It’s also important that children receive dental check-ups twice a year to ensure that they are taking proper care of their teeth and gums, and have x-rays taken to check for cavities that may not be easily identified.
  • Parents can help children take proper care of their teeth by teaching them the correct way to brush. Brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush on the front, back, inner and outer surfaces, as well as their tongue – with short, gentle back and forth motions – can help children maintain good oral health. It’s important for children to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time using no more than a pea-size amount or fluoride toothpaste.