Giving healthy drinks with kids’ meals will help protect children’s teeth!
The Oral Health Foundation
is calling for the introduction of healthy drinks as the default option
with children’s meals in restaurants, insisting that it will
significantly help to improve oral health.
The call follows a pioneering law passed in California, which will see
milk or water being sold as the default drink with kids' meals in
restaurants throughout the state.
The legislation comes into effect next year and means that only milk, a
non-dairy milk alternative; sparkling, still or flavoured water, can be
served as primary choices and advertised on menus.
The charity believes rolling out a similar initiative in the United
Kingdom will help combat the health effects of sugary drinks and protect
thousands of children from tooth decay every year.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation,
says: “We know that some children are consuming several sugary and fizzy
drinks every day. This is not only contributing to oral diseases like
tooth decay but is at the forefront of rising general health issues like
childhood obesity and diabetes.
“Around one in four (24.7%) five-year-olds in the UK have tooth decay.
What makes this horrific is that every single case of tooth decay in
almost entirely preventable. The amount of sugar young children are
consuming, along with how often they are having it, is the root cause of
“Any initiative to make water and milk default options for children’s
meals must be driven by the restaurant industry. If they fail to show a
commitment to the health of children across Britain, then we would be
pushing for its introduction by a change in the law.”
New government data shows the number of five to nine-year-olds admitted
to hospital for tooth decay has risen for the second consecutive year.
There has been a total of 26,111 hospital admissions for tooth decay
among five to nine-year-olds during the last year. This is said to be
just a fraction of the many more children across the country who are
being treated for tooth decay in dental practices.
Childhood tooth extractions cost the NHS more than £50m last year.
“Simple dietary changes, such as defaulting to water or milk with
children’s meals, will have a big effect on childhood sugar
consumption,” adds Dr Carter.
“In time, it could help change attitudes we have around sugar, and ultimately help us develop a far healthier population.”
The new law in California does not ban restaurants or fast-food chains
from selling fizzy drinks or juice with children's meals. From January
2019, parents must specifically ask for them.
For more information contact: Gavin Hawes | email@example.com | +44 (0)1788 546 365 | www.dentalhealth.org
Giving healthy drinks with kids’ meals will help protect children’s teeth, claims charity