Once again we supported Sugar Smart UK in promoting Fizz Free February.

Fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11-18, providing an average of 29% of daily sugar intake. Most fizzy drinks contain at least 6 teaspoons of sugar, which for a child aged 7-10 is approximately 150% of their recommended daily sugar intake, which is not only shocking but it has significant implications for their oral health.

Not only have we been chatting to patients as they attend for their dental appointments but our dentist on the Isles of Scilly shares Friday Fun Dental Facts so we’ve begun sharing these on our Brighter Smiles Facebook page and on Twitter too – an entertaining way to reinforce good oral health, alongside more top tips on our Patient Information Zone!  And of course we tied in with National Tooth Fairy Day on the 28th Feb (which you may have spotted we were early for this year, such was our enthusiasm)!

Our Brighter Smiles team have created some bright and effective oral health display boards which help youngsters see just how much sugar is in their favourite drinks and encourage them to ditch the fizz and drink more water. These boards were equally influential when we visited harboursides last autumn, providing fishermen with oral health advice as Smiles at Sea 2020! Our team on the Isles of Scilly are also planning to use these boards in their educational presentations to families.

During the latest lockdown, when school, nursery and family hub visits have necessarily paused, Brighter Smiles have been delivering their oral health education virtually – they’ve also collaborated with University of Plymouth student Daniel Mealing to cleverly animate Dylan the Dragon and naughty sugarbugs to encourage young children to clean their teeth and snack healthily between meals.

In Cornwall the number one reason children aged 5-9 are admitted to hospital each week is to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic –100% avoidable according to fellow campaigners across the UK. So we continue to work with our partners, including Cornwall Council’s Public Health and Together For Families Teams, promoting positive oral health messaging wherever and whenever we possibly can.

Promoting good health and wellbeing within our employee-owned business remains a priority for our Shareholder Impact Board, and Fizz Free February is always a good point in the year to emphasise the importance of proper hydration during the working day. Never more so as the days begin to warm up yet our clinical colleagues continue to wear the extra PPE that keeps themselves and our patients safe. As we continue on our B Corp journey it’s also a good reminder of the environmental impact of fizzy drink production, from excessive consumption of land and water to the prevalence of single-use plastic.