The BMA  passed a motion this week at their annual conference calling for health warnings on sugary foods and more preventative action on children’s oral health.

Alongside the health warning messages on high sugar foods aimed at children, they have called for the government to provide free toothbrushes for children under 5’s alongside compulsory dental hygiene lessons in primary schools via the National Curriculum.

The doctors highlighted the large numbers of young children admitted to hospital for tooth extractions and said more government action was needed after the government dropped plans to curb promotion of junk food from its obesity strategy. BDA Chair Mick Armstrong voiced support for the proposals noting that they could ease pressure on the NHS and that political indifference had allowed a preventable disease to become the number one reason for hospital admissions among children.

Dr Kathy Harley, Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry says “I do agree with the motion and think both health warnings and free toothbrushes for under 5’s are great ideas. Compulsory oral hygiene lessons in primary school would be brilliant. I have seen thousands of children with dental decay due to frequent consumption of sugary food or/and drink. The latter is of particular concern as often the sugars are hidden.” Dr Harley has been warning parents and their children about the consequences sugar can have on children’s teeth. Dr Harley’s article in The Telegraph in 2012 warned parents about the so called healthy smoothies they were giving to their children without realising the effects on their teeth.