New guidelines suggest that milk and water are mostly the only things children aged five and under should drink. Scientists have issued the new nutritional guidelines, which suggest children should not be given any drink with sugar or other sweeteners in it.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes that parents would be wise to follow these guidelines: “Water and milk have the benefit of providing everything a growing child needs, without so many of the harmful things that so many other drinks contain. Milk is a great source of calcium, protein and several other vitamins and minerals that are essential for growth and development. Water is perfect, not just for youngsters, because it isn’t acidic, it has no calories and contains no sugar that can cause so much unnecessary damage to children’s teeth. Children absolutely do not need to drink products that are packed with sugar. The damage it can cause to oral health alone is extreme and avoidable”.
The guidelines have been published by Healthy Drinks Healthy Kids, a project by Healthy Eating Research in the US. The programme studies strategies for childhood nutrition.
Public Health England reports that nine out of ten hospital tooth extractions among young children are due to preventable tooth decay.
“We must look after ourselves, our children and make sure their diet reflects this,” adds Dr Carter, “Poor oral health at a young age can have a major influence on a child’s health, well-being and quality of life”.