Monday, 13 May sees the launch of National Smile month, which this year focuses on the health risks associated with the consumption of sugary drinks in under fives.
The Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) ‘kind to teeth’ campaign aims to highlight that sugar, notably in sugary drinks, is a major cause of dental decay.
Research from Public Health England shows that in just a six month period, children have consumed a years’ worth of sugar – and sugary soft drinks are the joint biggest contributor alongside buns, cakes and pastries. In addition, both sugar and artificially sweetened drinks are very acidic which can cause erosion of the tooth enamel, which is particularly porous in young children.
As well as tooth decay, sugar can also cause other health issues to develop, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The ‘kind to teeth’ campaign is aimed at parents with a view to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks in the early years and encourage healthy options at an early age, such as water and milk.
Dr Sarah McNulty, Knowsley Council’s Acting Director of Public Health, said “The early years provides a great opportunity to influence healthy food and drink patterns, as habits are often established when children are young. The ‘kind to teeth’ campaign will help to educate parents on the health risks associated with consuming sugary drinks in the early years, and emphasise that water and best is the best source of hydration for their young one. We hope it will help to influence healthy drinking patterns from the early years and throughout their growth and development into adulthood.”
Further information about the ‘kind to teeth’ campaign can be found on the GULP website.