Cake sales in schools could be banned under strict new regulations being recommended by dental surgeons.
The new rules would also see tuck shops being prevented from selling sweets and chocolate bars.
The recommendations from the Faculty of Dental Surgery are part of a broader move to encourage all schools to go “sugar-free” in a bid to combat tooth decay.
The condition affects a quarter of five-year-olds and dentists say urgent action is needed to protect youngsters.
But ‘common sense’ campaigners say any move to ban sugar from schools would be draconian and it should be the responsibility of parents to look after their children’s dental health.
The Faculty of Dental Surgery has published a report which shows that tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions among five-to-nine-year-olds over the last three years.
Yet more than two in five (41%) of under-18s did not visit an NHS dentist last year. The figure is even higher (77%) among children aged between one and two, despite guidance that all children should see a dentist at least once a year.
The faculty has produced a report containing 12 recommendations to try to cut down on cases of tooth decay. These include:
- All schools in England to introduce supervised teeth-brushing schemes, as exist in Scotland and Wales, before 2022
- All schools to become “sugar-free”
- Extending the soft-drinks levy to include sugary dairy drinks
- Limiting advertising and promotions for high-sugar products
- Reducing the sugar content of commercial baby foods
Prof Michael Escudier, dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “It is incredibly worrying that levels of tooth decay among children in England remain so high – especially when you consider that it is almost entirely preventable through simple steps, such as brushing twice a day with appropriate-strength fluoride toothpaste, visiting the dentist regularly and reducing sugar consumption.”