Parents in the UK put the teeth of seven million children at risk

by Lee Waring | Oct 18, 2016

We recently carried out a survey which highlighted that six out of ten parents don’t know about a free NHS treatment that protects against decay, putting the dental health of more than seven million children in the UK at risk.

Researchers also found that three out of ten parents have a daily struggle to get their kids to brush their teeth and two out of ten let their children get away without cleaning their teeth the recommended twice a day.

And one in twenty parents admit they only really clean their children’s teeth a couple of times a week or less.

Our very own director of clinical services, Steve Williams, said: “It’s shocking to think that seven million children in the UK are missing out on a simple, preventative treatment which offers protection against decay and strengthens teeth.”

The research also revealed that one in four parents resort to a gimmicky toothbrush, flavoured toothpaste and threats of teeth falling out to persuade their children to take care of their oral health. While one in ten sing a song, offer treats or use a reward chart to encourage children to brush.


To support families, we’ve launched a nationwide Kids Club to provide parents and children with better information and ensure the best possible start to early dental experiences.

Steve says: “Statistics show that 30 per cent of children didn’t see an NHS dentist between 2012 and 2014 and dental issues continue to be the main reason children are admitted to hospital. During 2012 and 2013 £30m was spent by the NHS on tooth extractions for under 18’s.

“Our aim is to change this and help parents take advantage of the free dental care available on the NHS, including fluoride varnish treatment, which helps prevent decay and should be applied to children’s teeth twice a year from the age of three.”

Benefits of the mydentist Kids Club include:

  • My little book of big smiles: an in-depth parental guide available online and in-practice
  • Free brushing timer: two-minute timer to encourage kids to brush their teeth for the recommended time
  • Regular check-ups: twice yearly check-ups
  • Free fluoride protection treatment: applied twice a year from the age of three or two in Scotland

We’re accepting NHS patients at hundreds of our practices across the UK, and don’t forget we have online booking to make it easier for you to make appointments and receive the care you’re entitled to.

Steve, who is an ambassador of our kids club and online booking services, says:: “With our online system people can easily find the closest dentist to them that is taking on new NHS patients and book an appointment. And they know that their experience when they come to see us will also be a good one – indeed more than nine out of ten of our patients would recommend us to family and friends.”

Don’t forget you can find your nearest practice by visiting our practice locator.


  1. Research carried out in May 2016 among 2,000 parents
  2. ONS population estimate stats from 2013 show there were 63.7m people living in the UK and 18.8 per cent were under 16. 63.6 per cent of parents across the UK don’t know about fluoride varnish according to the research at (1) which means 7.6m children are living with parents who do not know about the NHS care available for their children’s teeth.
  3. The Faculty of Dental Surgery: The State of Children’s oral health in England, January 2015.
  4. Of the 650 mydentist practices 451 have online booking and are accepting new patients
  5. An SMS survey of mydentist patients in March 2016 revealed 91.8 per cent would recommend mydentist to family and friends – sample size 16,033.

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