Children and adolescents' oral health has improved over the last 30 years. Nevertheless, quite a few Norwegian 18-year-olds have experienced tooth decay or other dental or oral problems like erosion or gingivitis. These problems increase when the children become teenagers, i.e. in the period when they get permanent teeth and also begin assume responsibility for brushing their teeth, flossing and fluoride use without parental assistance. Poor dental health is particularly prevalent among vulnerable groups such as families with low socio-economic status, immigrants, children whose parents have mental illnesses or children receiving help from child welfare service.
At the dental clinic, the dentist or dental hygienist spends time informing adolescents about good dental care in addition to the dental and oral examination. The intervals between each visit are long, and during the consultation, the time for information is limited. We have too little knowledge about adolescents' actual oral care habits, and about what will be optimal methods for getting young people to take the best possible care of their teeth.
In #Care4YoungTeeth<3 we will develop new solutions to support and motivate young people to good dental and oral health habits. New solutions can be, for example, dental health products, digital information and communication tools and service contact points. The project will also test how new solutions work in real-life situations. The new solutions will be developed in co-creative activities with the participation of the adolescents themselves, dental health professionals, product designers, service designers and researchers.
New functional solutions for taking good care of their teeth as teenagers, may contribute to establish good habits in adulthood and thus reduce social inequalities in dental health.