Should dairies stop selling sugary drinks to children?

Two dairies in Taranaki have made headlines for refusing to serve customers – and the nation is applauding them for it. 

In a bold move to help reduce tooth decay and obesity problems, Northern Dairy in Stratford and CR Dairy in Eltham agreed to stop selling sugary drinks to children before school. The move was encouraged by the Taranaki Health Board, with the business owners happy to get behind an initiative that could help to improve kids' health in the area. 

To help reduce tooth decay Taranaki dairies agreed to stop selling sugary drinks to children before school.

With clear benefits and a positive reception, should dairies in the rest of the country follow suit?

The role of dairies

Dairies are a true Kiwi institution.. These little corner shops are the go-to places for a hot pie, the daily newspaper – or an energy drink. Sugary drinks are part of their stock and trade and limiting their sale could mean an impact on their business. However, controlling sales could also make positive waves throughout communities. 

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) commends the public health leadership shown by the Taranaki dairies. Dr Rob Beaglehole of the NZDA stressed role of sugary drinks in poor oral health, saying that restricting the sale of these drinks in and near schools could have huge benefits. While it is unlikely dairies would be officially banned from selling sugary drinks to children, the support of local communities in health issues such as this could have a significant impact.  

The health issues

It's a long established fact that soft drinks can cause dental health problems. The sugar and acids present in the drinks can erode tooth enamel and cause caries. In place of soft drinks and fruit juices, children should be encouraged to drink water. Eltham school already has a water-only policy in place, and principal Kathryn Pick is excited to work alongside the local dairy to help reduce the amount of fizzy drinks children are consuming. 

School kids should be encouraged to drink water instead of fizzy drinks.School kids should be encouraged to drink water instead of fizzy drinks.

As well as being better for their teeth, children are more likely to focus better at school without an early-morning dose of sugar. The Ministry of Education has linked poor nutrition to problems with concentration and behaviour at school so they want to see a nationwide move away from sugary drinks for school kids. 

Dairies could play a huge part in driving this change. 

What do you think? Should New Zealand's dairies limit the sale of sugary drinks to school kids?

For more information about this, or if you have any other questions about dental health, feel free to get in touch with us today.