Aussie schools rank poorly in providing oral health education

oral health education

Australia didn’t fare so well in a recent UK survey which asked parents with children aged five to 16 years if their child’s school provided lessons on good oral health.

The survey conducted by the FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) asked parents from 13 countries if their child’s school provided lessons on the importance of good oral care.  

At 29 per cent, the UK scored the lowest, behind the USA (53 per cent), Australia (54 per cent), Germany (69 per cent), China (77 per cent), Saudi Arabia (81 per cent), Poland (84 per cent), Morocco and Algeria (86 per cent), Indonesia (87 per dent), Brazil and India (91 per cent), and Mexico (93 per cent).

Forty-nine per cent of parents from the UK also ‘didn’t know’ how often their child’s school gave lessons on good oral care, with parents from Australia and the USA not that far behind at 35 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively. 

This was in stark contrast to the results from Germany (19 per cent), Saudi Arabia (12 per cent), Poland (10 per cent), China, Indonesia and Morocco (nine per cent), Algeria (six per cent), India (five per cent), Brazil (three per cent) and Mexico (one per cent).

“The survey results show that not all parents know if their children are receiving oral health education at school,” FDI president Dr Kathryn Kell said.

“We must fill this knowledge gap, as oral diseases are the most prevalent disease globally and affect 3.58 billion people; equivalent to half of the world’s population. 

“What’s more, 486 million children suffer from tooth decay of primary teeth, which can cause premature tooth loss, pain, sleep disruption, problems eating and other health issues for young children.” 

Dr Kell emphasised that “schools must be encouraged to teach children about good oral care”.

The good news is that 71 per cent of parents across all countries agreed that schools should teach children about good oral care, and 51 per cent also recognised that parents play a role in oral health education.

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