Nearly half of mums fear their child is addicted to sugar


Nearly half of mums (46%) are worried that their child might be addicted to sugar, new research from Bupa has revealed. Despite this concern, 60% of mums admit that they do not regularly look at the nutritional information on food products for their children, with even one in five (20%) confessing that their child doesn’t have a balanced diet.

Even though 43% of mums claimed to know how much sugar is in the food their children eat, when asked how much sugar was in everyday lunchbox items, the results were surprising:

When 88% of kids have at least one yoghurt a day, 93% of mums didn’t know a typical fat-free yoghurt contains five teaspoons of sugar
Similarly with 77% of children having at least one drink of fruit juice, 94% of mums didn’t know that the average amount of sugar in a typical glass of apple juice is 6½ teaspoons
Too much sugar in a child’s diet can cause permanent damage to their health, including increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. However it can also cause severe damage to dental health as sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. Bupa’s Clinical Director of Dentistry, Dr Steve Preddy comments:

“Understanding the amount of sugar in a child’s diet is vital for their dental health. The findings from the research are really eye opening and show a huge disparity between how much sugar mums think is in certain foods and how much there actually is.”

The research comes as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) announce that schools and nurseries should run tooth brushing schemes to improve the oral health of children.

To showcase the importance of dental health from a young age, Bupa has launched a beautifully designed animated video that is tailor made for children to bring to life the magic of the Tooth Fairy.

Bupa’s new research found that 50% of mums have used the story of the Tooth Fairy to encourage their kids to brush their teeth. Of these, nearly half of mums tell kids the Tooth Fairy won’t accept rotten teeth to encourage them to clean their teeth, and 35% say the Tooth Fairy will know when you’ve eaten too many sweets.

Despite this, 40% of mums say their children have sweets, fizzy drinks or chocolate at least once a day. Nearly 25% of mums surveyed said they like putting sugary treats in their child’s lunchbox with the top culprits being cakes, chocolate, crisps and fruit juice. On top of this nearly a third of mums think that as they give their children healthy food, sugar isn’t an issue.

Dr Steve Preddy said: “With 26,000 primary school children admitted to hospital for tooth decay in the past year, there is a need now more than ever, for parents to be paying attention to their child’s sugar consumption. The recent announcement from NICE has caused much debate amongst health and teaching authorities however the most important thing to remember is tooth decay is preventable. Parents need to be regularly looking at the nutritional information of food products; it is often what are thought of as healthy foods or unexpected ones.”

Only 24% of kids will happily brush their teeth for the full two minutes at least once a day, otherwise mums admit to it being a struggle.

Saj Arshad, Marketing, Sales and Strategy Director at Bupa UK comments: “We know how difficult it can be for parents to ensure their children are looking after their teeth properly from a young age. We wanted to create content that helps parents speak to their children about the importance of looking after their teeth. We produced a new video to help families give a little extra care for their teeth in a fun and magical way.”

Parents can personalise the video for their children, which tells the enchanting story of the Tooth Fairy and what happens to a tooth once it has been collected.

To find out more about Bupa’s Tooth Fairy campaign and create a personalised video visit

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