Dental Association encouraged by ‘water only’ school results

Photography: Georgia Russell

Recent research showing positive results from a South Auckland school’s ‘water only’ policy is encouraging says The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA).

Decile 1 Yendarra School adopted a ‘water only’ policy for drinks in 2007, requesting parents to supply only water and milk.

The study of 10 years’ data showed that the average number of cavities dropped and the number of extractions due to decay nearly halved.

“We are encouraging schools and early learning services to adopt ‘water-only’ polices,” said NZDA spokesperson Rob Beaglehole.

“A vast range of measures are needed to combat sugary drink related harm. There’s no single measure that can be relied on. That’s why a broad approach is needed, including bringing the education sector with us. It really is that important as a health issue.”

Tooth decay is one of the most common reasons for children’s admission into hospital in New Zealand. Moreover, about one third of children are either overweight or obese in New Zealand.

Since last June, NZDA dentists have been supporting schools to become water-only. A recent school to become ‘water-only’ was Riverlands School, in Blenheim. The school was commended by their DHB.

“NZDA members have been approaching schools to consider becoming a ‘water-only’ to provide healthy environments and educate students about the health impact of sugary drinks,” said NZDA CEO Dr David Crum.

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