Australians are being urged to do their teeth and their bodies a
favour by swapping sugary drinks for water for a week from World
Cavity Free Future Day tomorrow.
With an alarming 27 per cent of Australian children aged 5-10
living with untreated tooth decay, the Rethink Sugary Drink
alliance is throwing its support behind the #ChooseWater challenge,
being driven by the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future, the
Australian Dental Association and Colgate.
Dr Hugo Sachs, President of the Australian Dental Association, a
Rethink Sugary Drink partner, said young Australians are among the
biggest consumers of sugary drinks, which are a leading contributor
to tooth decay.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood and
can significantly affect a child's quality of life.
"Alarmingly, one in four Australian children aged 5-10 have
tooth decay that is not being treated. It's no coincidence that
children are also heavy consumers of sugary drinks," Dr Sachs
Latest figures show that in a typical week:
- Almost two-thirds of children aged 6-13 drink fruit drink or
- Three in five consume soft drinks, and
- Around one in three drink cordial or frozen drinks, such as
"The consumption of free sugars is the most significant
behavioural risk factor for tooth decay. If Australians can take
steps to cut back on sugary drinks, such as taking up the
#ChooseWater challenge for a week, then their teeth will be much
stronger and healthier for it, " said Dr Sachs.
As well as being dangerous for our teeth, the high levels of sugar
in sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and overweight and
obesity, increasing the risk of serious health problems such as
type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, stroke and cancer.
Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition,
also a Rethink Sugary Drink partner, said sugary drinks have no
place in a healthy diet.
"A regular 600ml bottle of soft drink contains around 16 teaspoons
of sugar - that's around 1.5 times the maximum recommended intake
of added sugar in a day," Ms Martin said.
"The 18 groups behind Rethink Sugary Drink want to see a raft of
policy measures implemented, from a sugary drinks health levy to an
education campaign, to help reduce the impact of sugary drinks for
all Australians young and old."
Rethink Sugary Drink recommends the following actions to tackle
sugary drink consumption:
- A public education campaign supported by Australian governments
to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink
- Restrictions by Australian governments to reduce children's
exposure to marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages, including
through schools and children's sports, events and activities
- Comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on
the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages (and increased availability
of free water) in schools, government institutions, children's
sports and places frequented by children
Development of policies by state and local governments to reduce
the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in workplaces,
government institutions, health care settings, sport and recreation
facilities and other public places.