How much sugar should your child consume? | Rekord North

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How much sugar should your child consume? | Rekord North

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Phoenix Durban

It’s no secret that sugar is one of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity and dental problems worldwide. Parents have for decades “improved” their children’s food and drinks with sugars or alternatives like sweeteners, honey and many more. The question is, what are you doing to protect your child’s teeth from cavities?
The Dentacoin Foundation is an international company that is developing a form of digital currency specific to the dental industry. It aims to become a next-generation rewards programme for dentists.
The foundation conducted a recent Dentavox survey which monitored children’s cavities and the practices of parents with regard to children’s intake of sugary foods and drinks.
ALSO READ: Are South Africans the 8th highest sugar consumers in the world?
“We found that sugary food and drinks are one of the prime risk factors known to cause childhood tooth decay. Sugar and starches are used by harmful bacteria in the mouth to produce acids, which can weaken and eventually destroy the tooth enamel,” the foundation said.
Children’s sugar consumption: once a week or less
“If the child consumes lots of sugars throughout the day, the saliva won’t have any opportunity to rectify the damage of acids formed by the bacteria feeding on sugar. Limiting the frequency of sugar intake is vital in that respect,” the foundation said.
Despite of the big portion of parents who admit that their child consumes sugary food several times a week, their percentage is almost twice as low at 32%, amongst the non-cavities group compared to 59% for the children with cavities. 49% of respondents in the non-cavities group limit a child’s sugar intake to once a week or fewer. Only 8% of parents apply the strictest measure and completely exclude sweets from the child’s diet.
ALSO READ: Sugar rush: The low down on the looming sugar tax
Low and sugar-free drinks are preferred options

“Favourite to children, the sugar-sweetened beverages have high levels of sugar. Like food, these can significantly contribute to tooth decay and thus may lead to cavities.”
Drinking low and no-sugar drinks is the practice for 45% of children without cavities. Although beverages with medium sugar are still consumed by more than half, their share is much smaller amongst children without cavities – 53% compared to 72% amongst children with cavities.
49% of parents with children without cavities, sweeten their child’s food and drinks rarely or never.
Adding extra sugar or sweet alternatives to a child’s food only further promotes the habit of sugar intake. Nearly half of parents of children with no cavities avoid this bad practice.
“White sugar remains the most popular sweetener for both groups of parents, closely followed by honey. Only a small share of parents make use of whole fruits as an alternative but their percentage is twice as high among parents of children without cavities,” the foundation concludes.
* Information obtained from the Dentacoin Foundation
ALSO READ: Parliament closer to passing sugar tax law
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