sugary foodSugary food and sweet packets should carry warnings on them to help improve children’s oral health, doctors have said.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for cigarette-style health warnings on the packaging of sugary foods that are aimed at children to curb the high children’s teeth extractions being experienced in hospitals around England.

‘This meeting is dismayed that more than 34,000 children aged nine years and under have had tooth extractions in the last two years, 18,000 of which are five years and under,’ the BMA council said at its annual conference in Bournemouth recently.

Extractions

The BMA is also calling on the Department of Health to introduce compulsory dental hygiene lessons in primary schools.

It hopes that this, combined with the introduction of a sugar tax, will help to reduce the number of extractions taking place in primary school children.

A recent study has shown children who require extractions under general anaesthetic miss five days from school, totalling 1,510 missed schooldays in 2014/15.

‘This study is not just a stark reminder of the huge personal cost that dental disease has for children and their families, but that the burden is disproportionately borne by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society,’ Mick Armstrong, BDA chair, said.

‘This is a national scandal and our political leaders must pay heed.

‘Why are we spending billions every year to treat bad teeth when we ought to be investing in prevention?’

Minimum price

Elsewhere medics in Yorkshire are calling for a minimum price for confectionery products and sweets.

Inews has reported that the medics are also calling for the restriction of unhealthy food and drinks sales on NHS premises, as well as calling for a tax on sweet bags and a ban on the advertising of high sugar drinks on TV before the watershed.