Dr Rick Iskandar Teeth Brushing Lies Interview

Dr Rick Iskandar Teeth Brushing Lies Interview


Big Little Lies: Kids Are Getting Creative to Avoid Brushing Their Teeth

Despite going to great lengths to get their kids to brush their teeth, parents report that only half of Aussie kids are brushing twice a day, according to new research from Life Education.

With Easter and the school holidays just around the corner, a national survey of Australian parents released by Life Education in partnership with Philips Sonicare reveals an overwhelming 71 per cent of parents struggle to get their children to brush their teeth.*

The task becomes even more difficult during school holiday periods, with 62 per cent of parents agreeing it's harder to maintain healthy brushing habits during this time as kids fall out of their usual routine. Two in three parents (66 per cent) admit their children are getting creative as they try to avoid brushing their teeth, using tricks such as running their toothbrush under water (34 per cent), eating toothpaste (29 per cent) and turning the tap on in the bathroom (29 per cent) in an attempt to deceive mum and dad.

The research also found more than half of parents (51 per cent) have resorted to offering special incentives to encourage their children to brush their teeth, including treats (38 per cent), a gold star (34 per cent) and even money (21 per cent).

Life Education's Kellie Sloane said overwhelmingly, Australian parents are calling for more oral health education to help kids develop healthy lifelong habits.

"When it comes to setting up good oral health habits for their kids, parents need support. Although more than 90 per cent of parents say they talk to their children about the importance of oral hygiene, we all know kids don't always listen. In fact, three out of five parents surveyed (63 per cent) said their kids are more likely to listen to the advice of dentists or health educators.

"Prevention is always better than cure. We only get one set of adult teeth and it's very important to take care of them. Engaging children with their oral health from a young age means they will be more likely to develop healthy lifelong habits."

Philips Sonicare Ambassador and Principal Dentist at Tailored Teeth Dr Rick Iskandar said that as we approach the school holidays it's the perfect time to reignite the conversation around children's oral healthcare education in Australia.

"It's staggering to think only half of Aussie children (52 per cent) are brushing their teeth twice day – putting the other half at risk of a lifetime of painful tooth decay. It shows more education is needed to teach kids proper oral hygiene habits early on.

"It can be hard getting kids engaged with their brushing, they're much more interested in playing games and having fun. So why not bring the fun into their brushing routine? There are some great tools out there such as the Philips Sonicare For Kids electric toothbrush which combines best-in-class cleaning technology with a fun and highly interactive app to teach kids about oral healthcare through play," said Dr Iskandar.

Interview with Philips Sonicare Ambassador and Principal Dentist at Tailored Teeth

Question: What types of white lies do kids tell to get out of brushing their teeth?

Dr Rick Iskandar: According to a new national survey of Australian parents released by Life Education, children are getting creative as they try to avoid brushing their teeth, using tricks such as running their toothbrush under water (34 per cent), eating toothpaste (29 per cent) and turning the tap on in the bathroom (29 per cent) in an attempt to deceive mum and dad.


Question: Why do you think kids don't want to actually clean their teeth?

Dr Rick Iskandar: In my experience with my patients, there can be a number of different reasons why kids don't want to brush their teeth. Young children do not possess the same hand skills as adults and can become bored quite easily, especially with activities that initially can seem quite difficult and cumbersome. By the same token sometimes kids just think the toothpaste is too minty! It's important to work out what bothers them about the task to help lead them in the right direction.


Question: Why do you think parents find it harder to maintain healthy brushing habits for their kids during the school holidays?

Dr Rick Iskandar: We all know brushing teeth is not the most popular task in a child's daily routine, however the activity can become even more difficult during school holiday periods as these routines often become non-existent. According to the research, 62 per cent of parents agree it's harder to maintain healthy brushing habits during this time.


Question: How can parents encourage their kids to brush their teeth, twice a day, every day?

Dr Rick Iskandar: It can be hard getting kids engaged with their brushing, they're much more interested in playing games and having fun. So why not bring the fun into their brushing routine? Here are some of my top tips to help parents:

1. Be there and be positive.
As a parent, it's so important to be a positive role model for your kids, especially when it comes to their oral health. Be there and be positive about brushing your own teeth – if your kids can see you enjoying it, they will too! Not only does this set a good example but it will create fun and engaging family time that the kids can look forward to. It will also mean they can't use cheeky tactics to avoid brushing their teeth!

2. Visit your dentist.
Make the most of your regular check-ups and ask your dental team to chat to your kids about the importance of looking after their oral health. Although more than 90 per cent of parents say they talk to their kids about the importance of oral hygiene, we all know kids don't always listen. In fact, three out of five parents surveyed (63 per cent) said their kids are more likely to listen to the advice of dentists or health educators, such as the Life Education program, with its lovable and memorable mascot Healthy Harold the giraffe.

3. Let them choose the tools.
Whether it's the flavour of the toothpaste or the colour of the toothbrush, let your kids make the decisions when it comes to their oral health. Picking out their own tools will keep them engaged and make it a more enjoyable experience.


Question: How important is it that parents develop good brushing habits with their kids, early on?

Dr Rick Iskandar: Prevention is always better than cure. We only get one set of adult teeth and it's very important to take care of them. Engaging children with their oral health from a young age means they will be more likely to develop a positive association with taking care of their overall health and consequently forming healthy lifelong habits.


Question: At what age can parents start brushing their child's teeth and what products are best?

Dr Rick Iskandar: It's important to start brushing as soon as the first tooth pushes through, this can be done with a small soft-bristled toothbrush, finger brush or cloth and water. Dental technology has come a long way and there are some amazing products will ensure your children's oral health is in safe hands. I recommend the Philips Sonicare For Kids electric toothbrush to my patients because it combines best-in-class cleaning technology with a fun and highly interactive app to teach kids about oral healthcare through play. This toothbrush is suitable for children ages 3+.


Question: Why is it extra important to brush our teeth after a day of Easter chocolate treats?

Dr Rick Iskandar: Easter is the perfect time to kickstart healthy oral care habits for your children. Sugary foods such as chocolate can lead to nasty tooth decay, with the sugar producing acids that dissolve and decay your kids' teeth. Enjoy the chocolate (in moderation) this Easter but make sure you and your kids are brushing at least twice a day to protect their oral health!


Interview by Brooke Hunter




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