The popular soft drinks with the most sugar have been named and shamed by a local authority for the first time in a bid to combat an “alarming level” of child tooth decay.
Public health officials in Liverpool have launched a campaign “Is your child’s sweet tooth harming their health?” after their research found around 2,000 children in the city will have had tooth extractions by the age of five and more than a third will have suffered from tooth decay.
Shockingly, a 14-year-old child also recently needed 15 adult teeth removing, according to Public Health Liverpool.
The campaign highlights 500ml of Lucozade contains 15.5 cubes (64 grams) of sugar while an equivalent bottle of Coca-Cola has 13.5 cubes (54 grams) – against a maximum daily allowance of five to seven cubes for children depending upon their age.
Cut-out boards highlighting the amounts will be placed in children’s centres, doctors’ surgeries, health centres and hospitals.
Director of public health, Dr Sandra Davies, said: “We are the first local authority in the country to name how much sugar is in specific brands because we feel it is really important that all parents have the facts they need when making decisions about which drinks to give their children.
“Many of us are not in the habit of studying labels on drinks and the evidence that we have is that people don’t realise how much sugar is in them, so we are taking steps to support them to make healthier choices.
“Our advice to parents is to take their child to the dentist by the age of one and teach them to brush their teeth correctly from an early age.”
Councillor Tim Beaumont, mayoral lead for wellbeing, added: “Through no fault of their own, families simply don’t realise how much sugar is in some of these drinks.
“As well as leading to poor dental health, it is contributing to the obesity issue in Liverpool which means that one in four children starting primary school are overweight, rising to 38% for secondary school age pupils.
“What we’re trying to do through this campaign is get the message across that even drinks which are marketed as healthy such as orange juice and flavoured water have large amounts of sugar in them.
“This is about getting families and young children into healthy habits which will hopefully last a lifetime and prevent future unnecessary pain and trauma.”