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Students’ Oral Health Improves in Sugar-Restricted Environments

piotr_malczyk/iStock/Getty Images Plus
piotr_malczyk/iStock/Getty Images Plus

In an attempt to improve the oral health status of children in a socioeconomically challenged area of South Auckland, New Zealand, researchers implemented a healthy food policy at a test school where sugary foods and beverages were restricted. The team compared the students’ incidence of caries with the oral health of students attending other schools in the area. The results of the study, “Low Sugar Nutrition Policies and Dental Caries: A Study of Primary Schools in South Auckland,” were published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

A linear regression model was employed to estimate the strength of the association between the subjects and caries. The study demonstrates that students at the school with sugar restrictions presented with a caries incidence 0.37% lower than students at comparable schools with more lax guidelines. This led to the conclusion that restriction of sugary foods and drinks has a positive effect on students’ oral health. This small change in school policy, the authors note, could provide significant health benefits.

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