News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

NZ dentist backs call for warning labels on soft drinks

NZ dentist backs call for warning labels on soft drinks

New Zealand dentist Dr Andrea Shepperson has backed a call from Australian dental experts1 for sugared drinks to carry warning labels declaring their risk to dental health.

The call was made by the lead author of a study recently released by the University of Adelaide2, Dr Jason Armfield, and was supported by the Australian Dental Association. The study found that 56% of Australian children aged five to 16 consumed at least one sugared drink a day and that 13% consumed three or more sugared drinks a day.

''Consistent evidence has shown that high acidity of many sweetened drinks, particularly soft drinks and sports drinks, can be a factor in dental erosion, as well as the sugar itself contributing to tooth decay,'' says Dr Armfield1.

The number of decayed, missing and filled baby teeth was 46% higher among children who consumed three or more sweet drinks a day, compared with children who did not consume any.

Sugared drinks commonly contain added food acids and many contain caffeine. “The risks of caffeine were highlighted this week by the coroner’s finding in the death of Natasha Harris, who was consuming up to 10 litres of CocaCola a day,” says Dr Shepperson. “Caffeine can create a dry mouth and it reduces the protective effect of saliva on teeth. These ingredients are a lethal combination that can cause dental erosion and decay.”

Shepperson distinguishes erosion from decay. “Erosion is the chemical dissolving of tooth enamel from an acid source – often a drink. It is recognised by pits or potholes in back teeth, hollow and worn teeth, and teeth that are getting darker in colour or more sensitive. The patterns are different but the outcomes are similar – unnecessary and avoidable damage to teeth, caused largely by our diet.”

“Warning labels on drinks outlining the risks of dental erosion would be a sensible guideline,” says Dr Shepperson.

“The danger with dental erosion is that it’s not only caused by soft drinks – it’s also caused by fruit juices, sports drinks, caffeinated energy drinks, some herbal teas; even detox and diet drinks.

“As a result, consumers can think they’re drinking a healthy product but it is in fact extremely detrimental to their teeth. I see new cases of dental erosion every day, and often patients are surprised to discover its cause. Warning labels would go a long way to counteract this problem.”

Dr Shepperson says that although the study was conducted in Australia, it should be taken seriously by New Zealanders. “This study is extremely relevant for New Zealanders, as we share a similar lifestyle to our Australian counterparts. We are likely experiencing a comparable level of dental erosion here.”

In New Zealand, 45% of children aged five to 14 consume soft drinks and 43% consume fruit juice more than once a week3.

New Zealand also shares its Food Standards Authority with Australia, meaning that any decision made about food labelling could be applies to both countries.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Gordon Campbell: On The America’s Cup

The fact New Zealand now reigns supreme once again in the most sophisticated contest in the world’s most elite sport – yacht racing – can’t help but reflect the trajectory the country has been on since the 1980s... More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis: Christopher Marlowe & 'The Tragedy Of Dr. Faustus'

Previous versions of 'The Devil's Pact' can be traced back to the fourth century, Marlowe deviated significantly by depicting his protagonist as unable to burn his books or repent to a merciful God in order to have his contract annulled... More>>

ALSO:

Gold For RNZ: Muslim Post-9/11 Series, Kim Hill Win In New York

The Radio New Zealand podcast series Public Enemy has won a gold award for excellence for its presenter, Mohamed Hassan, at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards announced in Manhattan today. RNZ National’s Saturday Morning host, Kim Hill, also received a gold award for Best Radio Personality. More>>

Human Rights Commission: Give Nothing To Racism

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people. More>>

Louis Vuitton Series Win: Emirates Team NZ Will Challenge For The America’s Cup

By beating Artemis 5-2 they now take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup match starting next weekend. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland