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A father with child brushing his teeth and looking in mirror

Helping families brush up on healthier oral care habits

This World Oral Health Day, research from Unilever’s family of oral care brands reveals children are seven times more likely to skip brushing their teeth if a parent does the same. Here’s how we’re setting out to make toothbrushing a regular routine for the whole family…

Ever forget to brush your teeth? Then your children are very likely to do the same.

A new global study commissioned by Unilever* reveals children are seven times more likely to skip brushing if a parent doesn’t brush their own teeth twice a day.

That’s why on World Oral Health Day, the largest global awareness event for oral health, our Signal, Pepsodent and Mentadent brands are launching #BrushWithMe, a campaign designed to encourage and remind families to brush better together, every day and night.

#BrushWithMe begins with a film and memorable song, which will reach TV screens, radio airwaves and online channels around the world, showing the many ways in which children love to emulate the adults around them and why mirroring matters, especially when it comes to oral health.

The importance of brushing day and night

Dental cavities are one of the most prevalent health conditions among children, and poor oral health can also affect a child’s confidence, self-esteem, ability to socialise and even their education.

The encouraging news is that, in the vast majority of cases, cavities are preventable. Brushing once in the day and once at night with a fluoride toothpaste every day is one of the most effective ways to maintain oral health.

“We know parents really are the agents of change for the whole family, and their habits, good or bad, are often reflected by their copycat kids,” says Mariano Sampietro, Unilever’s Global Vice President of Oral Care.

“If parents make brushing day and night part of their routine, it helps children to establish healthy habits that can last a lifetime.”

Oral care during the pandemic

As well as exploring the impact of role-modelling on children’s toothbrushing habits, our study also looked at how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting families’ oral health.

  • The study found that in 2020, one in four children (26%) didn’t brush their teeth day and night.
  • In comparison to a study conducted in 2018, 5% fewer parents were brushing their teeth twice a day in 2020.
  • And 11% fewer children were brushing their teeth every day and night.

“At this immensely challenging time, when dental visits may not be possible for many families around the world, the simple act of brushing day and night can help dramatically,” adds Mariano.

“Signal, Pepsodent and Mentadent’s purpose is to eradicate oral disease for everyone. We hope that with its simple but important message, #BrushWithMe will resonate with many parents, supporting them to develop lasting good routines with their families and making a positive impact at scale.”

*

The study was conducted in November and December 2020, with 6,734 parents across Bangladesh, Egypt, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy and Vietnam.