Children's Dental Health

We all want our children to grow up happy and healthy. It’s important to give them the best possible chance by trying to incorporate healthy foods and drinks into their diet.

Children do not need to include any fruit juices or other sweet drinks to have a healthy diet. Intake of sweet drinks reduces the quality of your child’s diet, has links to weight gain and tooth decay, and also exposes them to the ‘habit’ of drinking sweet drinks.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines do not recommend the consumption of sugar sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin-style waters, flavoured mineral waters, energy and sports drinks.

Some soft drinks contain artificial sweeteners instead of added sugar. Artificially sweetened drinks add very little energy (kilojoules) to the diet and therefore, do not contribute directly to weight gain. However, artificially sweetened drinks still maintain the ‘habit’ of drinking sweet drinks and do not add nutritional value to a healthy diet.

The acidity of drinks, whether sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners, and the frequent consumption of them, may contribute to tooth erosion and decay. For good oral health encourage children to drink plain water throughout the day.

Things to remember:

  • Sugar sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin-style waters, energy and sports drinks, are not recommended or needed.
  • Encourage children to eat fresh fruit and vegetables instead of drinking juice.
  • Limit consumption of fruit juice to ½ cup (no added sugar) occasionally.
  • Encourage children to drink and enjoy water. Have water as the main drink in your family.
  • Be patient. It takes time to make changes to your child’s diet.

Information sourced from www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au