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Health officials in Liverpool are tackling “an alarming level” of child tooth decay in the city by publicising brands with high amounts of sugar.

A new campaign names leading brands such as Lucozade, Coca-Cola, Tropicana, Capri-Sun and Ribena – warning how many sugar cubes are in each drink.

It will target hospitals, GP surgeries, children’s centres and hospitals.

About 2,000 children in the city will have had tooth extractions by the age of five, health chiefs say.

More than a third have suffered from tooth decay and a 14-year-old recently had 15 adult teeth removed, Public Health Liverpool said.

The “Is your child’s sweet tooth harming their health?” campaign highlights that 500ml of Lucozade contains 15.5 cubes of sugar, while an equivalent bottle of Coca-Cola has 13.5 cubes.

The maximum daily allowance of sugar for children is five to seven cubes, depending upon their age.

Dentist shocked

Rotten teeth

Director of Public Health Liverpool, Dr Sandra Davies, said they are “the first local authority in the country to name how much sugar is in specific brands” to help people “make healthier choices.”

“Many of us are not in the habit of studying labels on drinks… people don’t realise how much sugar is in them.”

Hidden sugar and the frequency at which young people consume drinks are big problems, said Sondos Albadri, consultant in paediatric dentistry at the University of Liverpool.

“It is quite shocking for me as a dentist… I’ve just listed a two-and-a-half-year-old to have eight teeth removed under general anaesthetic.”

Poster

“We are increasingly seeing children aged between 12 and 16… I had to remove 15 adult teeth on a 14-year-old recently, and while that is an extreme case it is by no means a rare occurrence.”

Councillor Tim Beaumont, mayoral lead for wellbeing, said it was also “contributing to the obesity issue” in Liverpool, where “one in four children starting primary school are overweight, rising to 38% for secondary school age pupils.”

Gavin Partington, from the British Soft Drinks Association, said soft drinks companies were “taking practical steps to help consumers” including “reducing the sugar in their products”.

“If this were a genuine education campaign to reduce sugar intake then surely it would look at all sources of sugar consumption and not just target soft drinks, which is the only food category where sugar intake is actually falling year on year,” he said.


The number of sugar cubes (each containing 4g of sugar) in popular drinks, according to Public Health Liverpool:

 

15.5 – Lucozade (500ml)

13.5 – Coca Cola (500ml)

12.7 – Frijj chocolate milkshake (471ml)

8.25 – Capri-Sun (330ml)

7.5 – Tropicana orange juice (330ml)

7.25 – Ribena (288ml)

5.75 – Volvic flavoured water (500ml)

Content courtesy bbc.com

tooth-decay-and-cavities-image

What are Cavities?
“Cavities” is another way of saying tooth decay. Tooth decay is heavily influenced by lifestyle, what we eat, how well we take care of our teeth, the presence of fluoride in our water and toothpaste. Heredity also plays a role in how susceptible your teeth may be to decay.

While cavities are generally more common among children, adults are also at risk. The types of cavities include:

  • Coronal cavities—the most common type occurring in both children and adults, coronal cavities usually are located on chewing surfaces or between the teeth
  • Root cavities—as we age, our gums recede, leaving parts of the tooth root exposed. Since there is no enamel covering tooth roots, these exposed areas easily decay
  • Recurrent decay—decay can form around existing fillings and crowns. This is because these areas may have a tendency to accumulate plaque, which can ultimately lead to decay

Adults are especially at risk for cavities if they suffer from dry mouth, a condition due to a lack of saliva. Dry mouth may be caused by illness, medications, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and may be either temporary (days to months) or permanent, depending on its cause.

Cavities are very serious. Left untreated, a cavity can destroy your tooth and kill the delicate nerves at its center, which may result in an abscess, an area of infection at the root tip. Once an abscess forms, it can only be treated with a root canal, surgery or by extracting the tooth.

How Do I Know if I Have a Cavity?
Only your dentist can tell for sure whether you have a cavity. That’s because cavities develop below the tooth’s surface, where you can’t see them. When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates (sugars and starches), these carbohydrates are eaten by the bacteria in plaque, producing acids that eat into the tooth. Over time, the tooth enamel begins to break down beneath the surface while the surface remains intact. When enough of the sub-surface enamel is eaten away, the surface collapses, forming a cavity.

Cavities are most likely to develop in pits on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, in between teeth, and near the gumline. But regardless of where they occur, the best way to spot them and treat them before they become serious is by visiting your dentist regularly for checkups.

How Can I Help Prevent Cavities?

  • Brush at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline
  • Have regular dental checkups. Preventive care can help stop problems from occurring and keep minor problems from becoming major ones
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods. When you do eat these foods, try to eat them with your meal instead of as a snack to minimize the number of times that your teeth are exposed to acid
  • Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
  • Make sure that your children’s drinking water is fluoridated. If your water supply does not contain fluoride, your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe daily fluoride supplements

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