What is happening to those smiles?

Lee Wareham

On January 22nd Australian Dental Association posted on Facebook the Thirsty campaign 1 . It was a sobering and confronting truth that our young people are inadvertently consuming too much sugary drinks. The post asked: “Did you know that some Aussie males aged 12-24 are knocking back a staggering 1.5 litres of soft drinks, sports drinks or energy drinks every day?”

This is part of the campaign by the Rethink Sugary Drink initiative, of which ADA is a part of. It is an effective method with high visual impact to communicate with young people. On the site there are many images to highlight the detrimental damage done to teeth from drinking sugary drinks regularly.

Advertisement for sugary drinks

There were images of many young people looking attractive and glamorous until they open their mouths, revealing brown and horrifically rotten teeth. This was to parallel the way sugary drink companies and advertise their products, touting beautiful image, playing on the viewer’s vanity and desire. Those sugary drink companies have the endless budgets to advertise and portray any idea they want the audience to associate their product with. For example, the advertisements normally portray people that look good, being part of the ‘in crowd’, active, having a lot of fun and appearing healthy.

Consuming too much sugar has been linked to a plethora of health problems. The first predictor is body weight gain. The unhealthy weight gain increases the risk of other serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and 13 types of cancer.

Nevertheless, many young people may not notice any immediate effects on their general health and cannot associate sugary drinks with the health problems mentioned above. The effect on their teeth from sugary drinks though, can progress very fast. In many cases this is the only factor that might change their habits.

If these young people can cut back on sugary drinks, their teeth will be stronger and healthier from day one. Of course it is better to completely stay away from such drinks.

We have a cost free solution. Our municipal water is safe to drink. It is cost effective, tastes great and will keep our young people’s smiles beautiful for many years to come!