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Nutrition and drinks for children aged 5-8 years

It is essential that oral health is supported by good nutrition and that both parents and carers, as well as and nursery and school staff, have the information and resources to establish healthy eating and good nutrition from as early an age as possible. Health practitioners and early years professionals have the responsibility of explaining these key messages to parents and carers.

Key nutritional messages to promote good oral health include:

  • Promoting healthy snacks and drinks (for example, healthy school lunch boxes) and keeping food and drinks containing sugar to a minimum and only at meal times.
  • Raising awareness of hidden sugars in foods and drinks. (For example, sugar appears in food and drink under many different names – sucrose, glucose, dextrose, maltose, honey and syrup. The earlier it appears on the list of ingredients, the more of it there is in the food.)
  • The best drinks for children are water or milk.
  • Fruit juices contain naturally-present sugars which can cause tooth decay, so these should be given in small amounts, they should be unsweetened and diluted (one part juice to one part water) and only given at meal times.
  • Sugary, fizzy drinks or squashes (including sugar-free varieties) should be avoided or offered at meal times only. Give your child healthy, sugar free snacks between meals to prevent tooth decay, e.g. bite sized pieces of fresh fruit: apple, pear, satsuma, orange, banana, kiwi, melon or strawberries.