A new campaign is aiming to battle tooth decay in young children by encouraging healthier drinks choices.
Knowsley Council has launched Kind To Teeth to educate parents of under-fives that the best drinks for their youngsters are milk and water and juices, fizzy drinks and flavoured milks could all have a health impact.
Research shows that by the age of five, nearly a third (31 per cent) of children have obvious decay in their milk teeth.
In another study, 12 per cent of three-year-olds in England were found to have evidence of tooth decay having on average three decayed, missing or filled teeth, with sugary drinks a major part of the problem.
Coun Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council's cabinet member for public health, wellbeing and customer services, said: “Allowing our young children to become accustomed to sweet tastes from an early age can have a negative effect on their dental health and continued over-consumption can also lead to problems in later life, such as weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
“The Kind to Teeth campaign will help to educate parents on the health risks associated with consuming sugary drinks in the early years, and emphasise that water is the best source of hydration for their little one.
"We hope it will help to influence healthy drinking patterns from the early years and throughout their growth and development into adulthood.”
The Kind to Teeth campaign has been developed by registered nutritionists, dental health and early year’s specialists and forms part of the well-known Give Up Loving Pop (Gulp) campaign from Food Active.
The campaign has been launched to coincide with National Smile Month, running from May 14 until June 14, and is the UK’s largest and longest-running effort to promote good oral health.
It highlights three key messages to help develop and maintain a healthy mouth, including cutting down on the number of sugary drinks consumed.
British Dental Association health and science committee chair Dr Russ Ladwa said: “Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admission among children. Consuming too many fizzy drinks is rotting our teeth, as well as piling on the pounds, but the diet versions are also damaging to teeth.
"These are highly acidic and over time will wear away the surface of the teeth. Fizzy drinks are by far the biggest factor in causing dental erosion among young children and teenagers.”
For more information about the campaign visit: www.giveuplovingpop.org.uk/kind-to-teeth