Once again we joined forces with Sugar Smart UK and our partners at Cornwall Council Public Health to help promote Fizz Free February, which was launched in 2018 by Southwark Council but has grown quickly to become a national initiative.
Fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11-18, and they provide 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. This has significant implications for their oral health and therefore the campaign messages to ditch the fizz and drink more water resonated strongly with Smile Together colleagues across West Country Dental Care, Brighter Dental and DPS, and particularly our Brighter Smiles oral health programme delivery team.
In Cornwall we see around 20 children aged 5-9 admitted to hospital each week to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic – the number one reason for hospital admissions amongst the age group but 100% avoidable according to fellow campaigners across the UK.
Our Brighter Smiles team had great fun reinforcing the fizz-free messaging and importance of drinking more water during all their visits to schools, nurseries and family hubs, helping to further raise awareness of Fizz Free February. Brighter Smiles lead dental nurse Jo Trevelyan said: “The children enthusiastically embraced the fun activities and in some locations a water-only policy has been introduced which is just brilliant. This is about working together and positively influencing the long term oral health outcomes of children.”
They also talked to children about the shocking amount of sugar in popular soft drinks with the help of their new oral health display boards created by the talented team at Fuel Communications, one of the Brighter Smiles campaign’s generous supporters.
As an employee-owned social enterprise Smile Together has taken Fizz Free February even further to heart. According to Staff Council Representative Sally Phillipps: “When we launched our Health and Wellbeing initiative we gave all team members a reusable water bottle, and all new team members receive one when they join us. It’s great to see these in use right across our business, keeping everyone hydrated during their busy days making a difference to our patients”.
Take a look at the photos below to see what we got up to during Fizz Free February 2020: