More than one million under-fives have two or more fillings… because mothers can't get them to brush their teeth
One in six parents say their child has at least three fillingsFifth of mothers haven't taken their youngsters to the dentist in the past two years

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UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 7 September 2012

More than one million children under five have at least two
fillings because mothers cannot get them to brush their teeth, according to a new
study.

Researchers found almost a quarter of parents said their little
ones only cleaned their teeth once a day, with half saying they found the whole experience too stressful.

As a result, one in six admit their child has at least three
fillings and almost half of children under 12 have been told they have tooth decay.

Helping hand: A fifth of mothers find getting their children to brush their teeth very stressful

Helping hand: A fifth of mothers find getting their children to brush their teeth very stressful

The daily battle to get kids to brush their teeth leaves
almost one in five mothers between a seven and ten on the stressed scale – ten
being very stressed – and one in ten have regular arguments over it.

A further one in six admit to becoming a nag every morning
and night, while one in ten confess they know their children are lying about
brushing their teeth.

Visits to the dentist are filling mums with as much
dread as their kids – one in seven feel judged when the dentist has to give
their child a filling and a quarter feel embarrassed about the state of their
child’s mouth.

Dentist dread: Children should have their teeth checked every six months

Dentist dread: Children should have their teeth checked every six months

This could explain why a fifth of mothers admit their child has not been for at least two
years – four times longer than the recommended gap between visits.

The research, by Aquafresh, also revealed one in 100 mums
have kids suffering from gum disease – traditionally an adult condition – and
the same amount have at least five fillings.

Data from the Office of National Statistics shows 14 per
cent of eight-year-olds show signs of decay in their permanent teeth, with one
in 100 missing a tooth due to decay.

This figure rises to 34 per cent of 12-year-olds showing
signs of decay, with three per cent missing a tooth.

Leading dentist Tina Tanna said: 'These results are shocking
but not surprising – dental decay is one of the most preventable diseases in
the UK.

'Every mum knows how hard it is to get their kids to brush
their teeth but these results show how important this really is.

'Dental decay can lead to complications such as tooth loss
so it’s key that kids learn to brush properly when they are young to prevent
further issues as their adult teeth begin to grow.'