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Sugar

We are leading on calls for radical action to lower the nation's sugar intake, with measures ranging from lowering the recommended daily allowance, through to action on marketing, labelling, and sales taxes, to prevent tooth decay.

Tooth decay is now the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children. 

 

Recent data has revealed that 170 children and teenagers in England are undergoing tooth extractions under general anaesthesia in hospitals in England every day. 

This costs £36 million a year – and the number of operations have increased by 17% since 2012.


What can dentists do?

 


We are working with the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) charity to improve the oral health of children attending nursery schools.

From 25-29 March, the NDNA will be sharing information, activities and resources, produced in conjunction with us, with children, their parents and carers on how to develop good oral health habits for life.

The NDNA aims to enhance the development and education of children, through the provision of support services to their members. Every year, the NDNA runs a Healthy Body Happy Me week and this year they are focusing on oral health.

We've produced a new video, entitled 'Going to the dentist' and we will be sharing this and our other oral health promotional videos on our social media channels.

Please help us by sharing these resources on your own or your dental practice social media channels and tag us@thebda using the hashtag #healthybodyhappyme.


Top tips for dental patients

One of the most important messages that dentists can give to patients is to remember that it is not just the amount of sugar you eat or drink that causes tooth decay, but also how often you have those sugary foods and drinks.

 

  • Quitting fizzy drinks: Fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar consumption for children aged 11-18, and they provide an average of 29% of daily sugar intake - cutting them out for a month is an easy way to reduce sugar intake and to help encourage a reduced intake for the rest of the year, by switching to healthier alternatives.
  • Sugar-free fizz is still bad for teeth: The fizz in sugar-free drinks is still acidic, and can cause tooth erosion, so it's much better to switch to tooth-friendly alernatives like water, milk, or a small serving of fruit juice - but this is best consumed with a meal, to avoid the erosive acidity of the fruit juice. 
  • Reduce sugary snacks: the risk of developing tooth decay increases as the amount and frequency of sugar consumption rises.
  • Brush twice a day: keeping teeth clean by regular brushing helps prevent decay. Children's brushing should be supervised until the age of seven. Ask your dentist for more advice.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste: all children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm, both morning and night. From three to six years old, their toothpaste should contain more than 1000ppm. For children six years and older, the recommended amount is between 1350ppm-1500ppm.
  • Visit the dentist on a regular basis: ask your dentist how often you should visit and keep your appointments, if oral health problems are spotted early, then they can often be dealt with much easier. Your dentist can answer any questions you have about the best way to look after your child's teeth.
  • Watch out for 'hidden' sugars: pure fruit juices can be a healthy choice, but the natural sugars these contain can still damage teeth. If you are offering fruit juice, drink it with a meal and only in a small glass (up to 150ml).

What is the BDA doing on sugar and oral health?

We have been leading on calls for radical action to lower the nation's sugar intake, with measures ranging from lowering the recommended daily allowance, through to action on marketing, labelling, and sales taxes, to prevent tooth decay.

 

When it comes to oral health, we believe in prevention first: tooth decay is an avoidable disease and we are campaigning for Government's to take this problem seriously, to act now and invest in real prevention.

 

Help us share the message and best practice

 

Useful resources for dental professionals

Keeping up-to-date

​If you'd like to be kept informed about developments on this issue, make sure your details are up-to-date on your MyBDA record and tick the box under 'contact preferences' to get latest news updates.

 

Working for you

The BDA campaigns on a range of issues affecting dentists and dentistry today. We make sure that dentists' views are represented when it comes to health policy being developed by government and other key organisations: join us.