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Less than half of America's kids brush every day

Monday - 10/1/2012, 5:53am  ET

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Kids need a grown-up to show them the ropes when it comes to brushing in order to develop good habits. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - Only 44 percent of America's kids brush their teeth every day.

A recent Ad Council survey reveals that 16 million kids suffer from tooth decay, the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S., Yahoo Health reports.

Tooth decay also opens the door to infections in other parts of the body.

The survey found children spend more than eight hours a day on pointless activities, like playing video games, texting, watching TV and playing games around the house. A small portion of that time could be spent on brushing and flossing, the survey notes.

Kids need a grown-up to show them the ropes when it comes to brushing. That means parents need to help children get the job done until they are at least 4 or 5 and supervise them until brushing their teeth becomes a habit.

Parents need to make sure kids brush their teeth twice a day. Limiting sugary snacks is also important, sending babies to bed with a bottle is a no-no and flossing is a good idea habit to develop early.

The CDC recommends that kids start using a pea-sized dab of toothpaste with fluoride when they are two years old.

WTOP's Rosemary Frisino Toohey contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)