Australians urged to choose tap water this Dental Health Week
Many Australians know that sugary drinks are not a
healthy dietary choice, but they may not realise the serious damage they cause
In line with the theme of Dental Health Week (7–13
August 2017) – Oral
Health for Busy Lives, the health and community organisations behind Rethink
Sugary Drink are calling on Australians to think of their teeth before reaching
for a sugary drink when out and about.
Dental Association's Oral Health
Professor David Manton, said sugary
drinks contained sugar and acid that weakens tooth enamel and can lead to tooth
"Dental decay is caused by
sugars, especially the type found in sugary drinks. These drinks are often
acidic as well. Sugary drinks increase the risk of decay and weaken the tooth
enamel, so it's best to avoid them," Prof Manton said.
"The best advice is to stick to tap water.
Carry a water bottle with you to avoid having to buy energy drinks, soft
drinks, sports drinks and other sugary drinks when you're on the go. You'll be
doing your bank balance a favour too."
Chair of the Public Health Committee at Cancer
Council Australia, Craig Sinclair, said knowing the oral health impacts
associated with sugary drinks further highlighted the need for a health levy on
these beverages in Australia.
"Australians, and our young people in particular,
are drinking huge volumes of sports drinks, energy drinks, soft drinks and
frozen drinks on a regular basis – some are downing as much as 1.5 litres a
day," Mr Sinclair said.
"While regular consumption is associated with
increased energy intake, weight gain and obesity, it also heightens the risk of
"We know through economic modelling that a 20 per
cent health levy on sugar-sweetened beverages could reduce consumption in
Australia and prevent thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and
stroke over 25 years, while generating $400–$500m each year.
"This extra revenue could be used for public
education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease, reduce dental
caries and address childhood obesity.
"While a health levy is not the only solution for
reducing sugary drink consumption, if coupled with a range of strategies it could
have a significant impact on the amount Australians are drinking and minimise
Rethink Sugary Drink alliance recommends the following actions in addition to a
health levy to tackle sugary drink consumption:
A public education campaign supported by Australian
governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink consumption
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
Protect your teeth from sugary drinks with these
Follow the Australian dietary guidelines: Focus on drinking
plenty of tap water (it has no acid, no sugar and no kilojoules), limiting
sugary foods and drinks and choosing healthy snacks (e.g. fruits and vegetables).
Find out how much sugar is in your favourite drink using
the nutrition information panel on your drink or on the Rethink Sugary Drink website – it might
Carry a water bottle and fill up at the tap, so you don't
have to buy a drink if you're thirsty.
Be aware of sugar disguised as a ‘healthy' ingredient
such as honey or rice syrup. It might sound wholesome but these are still
sugars and can still cause decay if consumed frequently.
If you do drink sugary drinks, use a straw so your teeth
are less exposed to the sugar and acid.
Take a drink of water, preferably tap water that has been
fluoridated, after a sugary or acidic drink to help rinse out your mouth and
dilute the sugars.
Do not sip a sugary or acidic drink slowly or over a long
duration. Doing so exposes your teeth to sugar and acid attacks for longer.
information, visit http://www.dentalhealthweek.com.au/
Rethink Sugary Drink: Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership
between the Apunipima, Australian Dental Association, Australian Dental and
Oral Health Therapists' Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Health
Services Victoria, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Diabetes
Australia, Healthier Workplace WA, Heart Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, LiveLighter,
The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation, Nutrition Australia, Obesity Policy
Coalition, Stroke Foundation, Parents' Voice, the Victorian Aboriginal
Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the YMCA to raise
awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage
Australians to reduce their consumption. Visit www.rethinksugarydrink.org.au
for more information.
Amelia Seselja - for interview requests
with Professor David Manton, Australian Dental Association
Australian Dental Association
P: 0431689556 E: Amelia.Seselja@ada.org.au
Shannon Crane - for interview requests
for Craig Sinclair, Cancer Council Victoria
Media and Communications Advisor, Cancer Council
M: 0432157270 E: firstname.lastname@example.org