Scottish children will consume up to 16 times the recommended daily sugar intake this weekend, with the average child munching their way through five Easter eggs, according to research.
Data from Bupa Dental Care comes days before the introduction of the so called ‘sugar tax’ on 6th April which will impose a levy on soft drinks.
The research suggests that children will still get through an abundance of sugar because of other sweet treats like chocolate eggs which will replace the sugar in soft drinks.
Looking beyond the Easter period, 17% of parents say their child aged between five and 10 have more than five sweet treats a day during the school week and 20% say they get through the same at the weekend.
Furthermore, half of parents (54%) feel they weren’t given enough information on teaching their children to brush their teeth – and a fifth (21%) say they would rely on friends and family for advice.
A third (31%) of parents revealed their children only brush their teeth for one minute or less and one in 10 said their kids brush just once a day, despite current NHS guidelines recommending a full two minutes, twice a day.
Dentist and clinical director at Bupa Dental Care, Dr Eddie Coyle said: “As many of us indulge in chocolate treats this Easter it’s good to be aware of the impact that this has on our teeth. If you know you’re going to be tucking into a few Easter eggs, make sure your oral hygiene routine is on point and incorporate chocolate treats into the end of your meal, rather than grazing throughout the day.
“While the sugar tax helps put sugar consumption on the radar of parents and is certainly a step in the right direction, we know it’s not just soft drinks that are a source of sugar for children, and that diet alone isn’t responsible for teeth problems.”
He added: “We need to go back to basics and educate people on proper oral hygiene if we really want to tackle the issues caused by the UK’s sugar addiction and address the fact that £36.2 million is being spent on teeth extractions in under 18s.”
GP and media commentator, Dr Sarah Jarvis, added: “As a GP, I regularly see children suffering from quite severe dental problems, and their parents have no idea they should be visiting their dentist as a first port of call.
“When you consider this lack of awareness, it’s easy to see why so many children are only treated when their problems have reached a critical stage.
“If more parents were aware that regular check-ups and the correct oral hygiene routine could make a huge difference in protecting their kid’s teeth, I think we’d be in a very different situation to the crisis we are in now.”