In this day and age we should all be aware that a healthy diet and good tooth brushing helps us maintain a healthy mouth. I’m sure you have all seen the recent media coverage of sugar and the affect it has on your teeth, but how much do you really know?

Unfortunately, tooth decay is now the number one reason for young children being admitted to hospital. There has been a 10 per cent increase in children requiring hospital based tooth extractions in the last four years. This costs the NHS an incredible £30 million a year. With an already strained NHS why add to that with something totally preventable?

You might be interested to know that in Leicestershire more than half of all five-year-olds have tooth decay. That’s the highest rate nationwide. 10.7 per cent of four to five-year-olds are also classed as obese. So, diet and good tooth brushing need to be addressed if we are to improve the dental and general health of our children.

It’s important for parents to remember that it is not just the amount of sugar children eat or drink that causes tooth decay, but how often they have sugary foods and drinks. It’s vital that as parents we teach our children the importance of a healthy diet. Our bad habits will in no doubt become theirs when it comes to food and drink if we don’t make a change ourselves.

The recommended daily sugar intake for children aged 4-6 years is 5 teaspoons, 7-10 years is 6 teaspoons and 11 years and over is 7 teaspoons.  To put this into perspective, a typical 330ml can of fizzy drink can contain up to 35g or 9 teaspoons of sugar. So, just one fizzy drink would take a child of any age well over their daily allowance.

Of course, sugar isn’t only found in drinks, it’s important to look at your diet as a whole when it comes to the health of your teeth. Did you know that a cheese pizza contains up to 6 teaspoons of sugar, a readymade jar of pasta sauce contains up to 7 teaspoons, a bowl of honey nut flakes contains up to 10 teaspoons and, before you reach for a tub of ice cream after a hard day, remember it can contain up to a whopping 23 teaspoons of sugar!

The British Dental Association are campaigning for public health legislation that helps to limit the amount of sugary food and drink children consume in the UK. To read their top tips for parents and to find out more about the affects of sugar, have a look at this article.

There is also a very informative video showing how much sugar is in some of the drinks we consume on a daily basis, some of them may surprise you! You can watch the video below.

The NHS ‘Change 4 Life’ website which is fun yet informative for the whole family. Why not download the app and find out for yourself how much sugar is in the food and drink that you eat. Check them out here.