Local schools go ‘water-only’
‘‘It is a no brainer - every school should be water only’’
Two Auckland schools are taking a stand against rotten teeth by adopting ‘‘water-only’’ policies.
Point Chevalier Primary School and Onehunga Primary School have scrapped all sugary drinks and replaced them with water and milk.
The water-only initiative is part of the Adopt a School program run by the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) and Colgate - where local dentists are challenged to adopt a school.
The ‘‘adopting’’ dentist holds presentations at the school, erect posters explaining the benefits of water and distribute toothbrushes and toothpaste to all pupils.
The ‘‘adopted’’ school stops the sale of fizzy drinks, flavoured milk and fruit juices and imposes a complete ban of these drinks on the school premises.
Dentist Puja Singh from Meola Dental recruited Pt Chevalier Primary School in September 2016.
‘‘Dentists see first-hand the damage sugar does to children’s teeth and sugary drinks are a leading cause of dental decay,’’ Singh said.
The water-only initiative provided a platform for dentists to make change within their com- munities, Singh said.
‘‘I love the program - if every dentist adopted one school, it would completely change the health of our children.’’
Singh is planning to recruit another school.
Mother Carrie Dean has two children at Pt Chevalier Primary School and is a big supporter of the initiative.
‘‘It is a no brainer - every school should be water only.’’
There was no reason for students to come in from lunch on a sugar high, Dean said.
Dean said the water-only message had changed her kids’ food and drink choices at home.
‘‘Not only do they always choose water over sugary drinks but their eating habits have improved.’’
This was important considering a lot of New Zealand families were affected by diabetes and heart disease due to an unhealthy diet, Dean said.
Jackson Dean, 8, said he would choose water over juice any day because it does ‘‘a better job of refreshing him after he plays sport’’.
The schools encourage a ‘full water bottle’ policy in the classroom.
A Ministry of Health report said 42 per cent of 5-year-olds and 39 per cent of 12-year-olds have tooth decay.
In 2015 29,000 children in New Zealand had rotten teeth removed.
Charlie, 5, and Jack, 8, make sure they take a full water bottle to school every day. Carrie Dean