Kind to Teeth campaign launches in Blackpool to help promote healthier drink choices in the under 5’s

Kind to Teeth campaign launches in Blackpool to help promote healthier drink choices in the under 5’s

Food Active’s ‘Kind to Teeth’ campaign which aims to combat poor oral health in children will launch in Blackpool on 5 November – and Blackpool Council is fully backing it.

The council’s Public Health department has worked in partnership with Food Active and Blackpool Better Start to develop an early years campaign for the town to help promote healthier drink options for the under 5’s. The goal is to encourage parents and carers to give only water and milk to babies and children and raise awareness of the health risks associated with the consumption of sugary drinks.

Research shows that babies as young as one-year-old are consuming high levels of sugar in their diet. As a result, by the age of five nearly a third (31%) of children had obvious decay in their milk teeth, and sugary drinks are a major part of the problem1.

An analysis of over 200 fruit juices marketed to the early years found that almost half contained at least a child’s entire daily recommended maximum sugar intake of 19g.2   Despite these types of drinks being advertised as suitable for babies from just 4 months old, they are totally unnecessary.

It is recommended that all babies are exclusively breast fed for the first six months of life and then for as long as the mother wishes to do so. Infant formula milk can also be given. Following this, plain milk and water are recommended as the best and only drinks young children need if they are thirsty.

To support the ‘Kind to Teeth’ campaign ‘bottle swaps’ will be offered through all Blackpool Children’s Centres, various Early Year facilities and Dental Practices, as well as within Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The ‘swaps’ look to encourage parents and carers to swap their child’s bottle for free cup or beaker, thereby reducing the risk of bottle caries, a form of tooth decay. Teats and spouts on bottles encourage children to suck for long periods of time, which means that the drinks that cause tooth decay stay in contact with the child’s teeth for long periods of time. A child should be moving off the bottle and on to a free-flow feeder cup at six months to help reduce the risk of poor oral health.

‘Kind to Teeth’ has been developed by registered nutritionists, dental health and early year’s specialists and forms part of the well-known Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) campaign.

Cllr Amy Cross, Cabinet Member for Health, said:

“The ‘Be Kind to My Teeth’ campaign aims to support early years children to have the best start in life in terms of oral health. Following  a successful Gulp campaign aimed at students in Blackpool we found that that there was a greater understanding of the health risk and a drop in the number of people who had previously stated that they ‘often’ bought drinks with a high sugar content. We want to repeat this success with our youngest children and  through the campaign support parents and carers to have a  better understanding of the potential risks to oral health if their child consumes sugary drinks.”

Beth Bradshaw, Associate Registered Nutritionist, Food Active said:

“We know that many children across the North West are experiencing issues of dental decayand unhealthy weight by the time they start school, and excessive consumption of sugar, particularly through sugar sweetened beverages, is a big part of the problem.

Blackpool is no exception, so we are delighted to have supported the Council’s public health team in the delivery the ‘Kind to Teeth’ campaign in the area. The early years presents a fantastic window of opportunity to influence long-term healthy food and drink patterns, so let’s be kind to our future generations teeth – only milk and water please!”

For further information on suitable drinks for children aged 0-4 years, please visit www.giveuploving pop.org.uk/kind-to-teeth.

If you would like to speak to one of the team about delivering a Kind to Teeth campaign in your area, please contact beth.bradshaw@foodactive.org.uk


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