The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry welcomes the new Change4Life campaign which is promoting healthier snacks.
The key message is to: “Look for 100 calorie snacks, 2 a day max” to cut children’s sugar intake1
Why is this important?
Half of children’s sugar intake comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks each year2
On average, children are consuming at least 3 unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more.2 Over the course of a year, average consumption includes:
- 395 biscuits
- 122 cakes, buns and pastries
- 108 sweets
- 69 ice creams
- 68 chocolate bars2
Children are consuming three times more sugar than is recommended.3 Cutting down sugar is important for reducing dental decay.4 A quarter of all children (24.7%) currently suffer from tooth decay by the time they turn five5 and tooth extraction is the most common cause of hospital admissions in children aged 5 to 9 years.6
What is happening?
Selected supermarkets (Tesco and Co-op) are supporting the campaign. Parents will also be able to get money-off vouchers from Change4Life to help them try healthier snack options.
The campaign is highlighting high sugar, high calorie unhealthy snacks for example:
- Ice-cream-(approx) 175 calories
- Pack of crisps-(approx) 190 calories
- Chocolate bar -(approx) 200 calories
- Pastries-(approx) 270 calories7
How much sugar is too much sugar?
The recommended daily maximum is no more than 5 cubes of sugar for 4- to 6-year-olds and no more than 6 cubes for 7- to 10-year-olds per day.8
PHE is working with the food industry to cut 20% of sugar from the products children consume most by 2020, with work to reduce calories due to start in 2018.
Toolkit and FREE resources available for dental practices and dental hospitals
- Badges for staff
- Posters and wallet-sized leaflets
- Digital resources such as TV screensavers /short video-clip
- Social media toolkits with suggested posts and images
The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) are delighted that the Change for Life programme highlights the benefits to children’s teeth which will follow from reducing sugary snacks. BASCD worked with other partners such as Public Health England in co-producing the Delivering Better Oral Health guidance which is a summary of best practice in dental practice-based prevention and based on reviews of the scientific evidence. The resources available for dental practices include information based on Delivering Better Oral Health guidance, in a handy wallet-sized format particularly for patients who are pregnant or are responsible for small children.
How to find out more:
Change for life: https://www.nhs.uk/change4life
Download the C4L Food Scanner app from the App Store or Google Play
Delivering Better Oral Health: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/605266/Delivering_better_oral_health.pdf
- Secondary Analysis of National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) rolling programme years 5&6 combined): https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-5-and- 6-combined
- NDNS: results from Years 5&6 (combined) Available at:
- Moynihan P & Kelly SAM. Effect on Caries of Restricting Sugars Intake: systematic review to inform WHO guidelines. J Dent Res 2014; 93:8-18 Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872848/
- Dental health 2014/15 survey of 5 year old children. Available at:
- Oral health profile. Available at: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/oral – health
- Average calorie content of ice – cream, crisps, chocolate, and pastry calculated using: McCance and Widdowson’s the Composition of Foods: Seventh Summary Edition, Public Health England, Food Standards Agency, 2014
- Food Portion Sizes (MAFF Handbook), 3rd edition, Food Standards Agency, 2002 Kantar Worldpanel Data, 2017