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ADA NSW is continuing to highlight the importance of ‘tooth friendly’ lunchboxes in this Newcastle Herald piece

3 February 2020
The Newcastle Herald


With the new school year underway, ADA NSW is continuing to highlight the importance of ‘tooth friendly’ lunchboxes for the little ones. See this piece from The Newcastle Herald featuring ADA NSW President Dr Kathleen Matthews.

Parents of Hunter school children have been urged to ditch unhealthy snacks from school lunches after latest figures show around one in four children aged between five and 14 have tooth decay. 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's National Oral Health Plan, which was published in December, found that doctors in the Hunter New England Health District were treating around 600 teenagers, aged 15 years and older, needed hospital treatment for tooth decay each year. The report also found there were around 1200 potentially preventable hospitalisations each year for dental treatments in the Hunter.
 
Dr Kathleen Matthews, the Australian Dental Association NSW president, said school lunches were one area where children could be consuming more than the recommended daily amounts of sugar, leading to problems with the teeth.
 
"A lot of convenient choices are high in sugar, and it all adds up," Dr Matthews said. "a lunch that includes a box of sultanas, a flavoured yogurt and a fruit juice is delivering more than double the recommended daily amount of sugar. Limiting sugar consumption is key to preventing tooth decay, which is the most common chronic disease in childhood."
 
Dentists recommend parents work to include something from each of the five food groups including fruits and vegetable, dairy, grains and lean meats for school lunches.

Replace chips, chocolates and biscuits with items such as fresh fruit, berries, celery sticks and baby carrots. And limit snacks that are high in sugar or saturated fats. Replacing sugary drinks with water and high-sugar snacks with grain-based and high-fibre options would help keep sugar consumption down, dentists said.
 
"As well as improving their kids' lunchboxes, parents should ensure their child visits a dentist at least once a year for a check-up," Dr Matthews said.

"Brushing teeth twice a day, flossing and drinking tap water in place of other drinks are also easy ways to help protect oral health among people of all ages."

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