31% of Parents Don’t Consider Toothaches a Serious Ailment

BY Rachel Cagle
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A new national survey conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) reveals nearly three quarters (74%) of U.S. parents do not take their child to the dentist by their first birthday, the age recommended by AAPD. Of the quarter of parents (26%) who do take their child to the dentist by their first birthday, millennial parents (29%) are more likely to take their child to the dentist by age 1 than any other generation.

Additionally, while 96% of parents say oral health is important to their family, many do not think toothaches are a serious ailment, with 3 in 10 parents (31%) ranking toothaches as the least serious ailment compared to tummy aches, earaches, headaches and sore throats.

Tooth decay remains the most common chronic infectious disease among children, and can compromise the health, development and quality of life of children both in the short and long term. The good news is that it's nearly 100% preventable. Caring for teeth at an early age is critical and establishing a Dental Home is the first step to creating a lifetime of healthy habits for children. A Dental Home sets the foundation for an ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient family. It is also important not to ignore signs of toothaches at any age. This is especially true with young children, as toothaches can be a warning sign for a number of ailments including cavities or infection, which can be treated and prevented if caught early enough.

According to AudienceSCAN, 46.7% of Parents of Kids 12 and Under are willing to pay more for higher quality on most products. When it comes to services, reviews by current and past patients can be an invaluable source of information for potential clients. These parents agree; 40.1% usually read reviews or comments from others who have already purchased the product they're considering. Within the last six months, 17.5% of these consumers have posted an online review themselves and 14% provided feedback to a brand through social media. Google is the preferred search engine of 90.5% of these review posters and they're active on social media such as Facebook (83.8%), YouTube (61.4%), Instagram (49.8%) and Twitter (43.6%). They're also 23% more likely than other adults to find advertisements on social media helpful to them.

Baby teeth serve as the blueprint and pathway for permanent teeth. Despite eventually falling out, preventing tooth decay in baby teeth can help stop cavities and decay in permanent teeth. The survey reveals parents have a mixed understanding of what 'healthy' foods for kids' teeth may include. Nearly half of parents (49%) believe pureed fruit pouches are a healthy snack choice and more than one third of parents think granola bars (39%) are healthy for kids' teeth. On the contrary, pureed fruit and granola bars have concentrated sugars and stick to the grooves on kids' teeth, giving bacteria plenty of time to do damage. However, cheese is one snack healthy for kids' teeth, as it neutralizes acids in the mouth due to an increase in saliva production. Parents are spot on in this knowledge, as 7 in 10 (73%) believe cheese is indeed a healthy snack choice for their kids' teeth.

Choosing the right foods for children is a big part of maintaining healthy teeth, as is establishing and practicing a proper brushing routine. The AAPD recommends brushing and flossing for two minutes twice a day. About half (49%) of parents with kids between the ages of 4 and 7 help their children brush their teeth every time. Interestingly, younger parents were more likely to regularly help their kids brush versus older parents: 80% of parents ages 18–24 say they help their child brush every time, while only 42% of parents ages 45–54 do the same. Brushing habits make an impact as kids get older and they choose to implement the habits they learned while brushing teeth with mom, dad or their caregiver.

Dentists can promote the importance of children's oral health to Parents of Kids 12 and Under a number of ways. For example, 57.4% of these parents took action after receiving an email advertisement last year, according to AudienceSCAN. They're also 45% more likely than other adults to click on text link ads on websites and 58.9% took action after receiving text ads or after seeing an advertisement on their smartphone mobile apps last year. TV also inspired 69% of this audience to take action last year.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.