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The 30-day Switch to Water Challenge starts 1 November.

The 30-day Switch to Water Challenge starts 1 November.



Challenge to switch from sugary drinks to water for 30 days

Sugar consumption is a leading cause for major health problems in Aotearoa - the challenge hopes to change that.

Atutahi Potaka-Dewes
Atutahi Potaka-Dewes
31 October 2023, 4:51pm
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'Ditch sugary drinks and replace it with water!'

That's the call from the president of the New Zealand Dental Association.

In a move to coincide with National Oral Health Day, NZDA are asking people to take up a 30-day challenge - starting tomorrow.

Dr Amanda Johnston says New Zealanders' sugar intake is well above average and the leading cause for tooth decay in children.

"Juice contains a really high amount of sugar, a lot of acid quite commonly. It breaks down your teeth, it causes decay and once that's happened you're off to the dentist for expensive treatment or pain and suffering in your mouth."

This year the NZDA welcomes back former Olympian and Black Sticks hockey player Brooke Neal as the Switch to Water Challenge advocate.

Neal says the 30-day challenge is a great kick-start to summer health and wellbeing goals especially with sugar temptations that come with the festive season.

"During my time as a sportswoman, it was important to stay well hydrated and water is the best choice for that. What is less appreciated is its role in supporting positive mental health."

Research shows New Zealanders consume around 37 teaspoons of sugar per day where as the ideal daily consumption for an adult should be no more than six teaspoons.

Over recent years, more than 30,000 children a year have had one or more teeth removed due to dental decay through the Community Oral Health Service or through the public hospital system.

Johnston says the best plan of action is to show our young ones a love for drinking water.

"If you're children are thirsty, show them love by giving them water... If we can try and cut some of that sugar and some of that acid out, we'd be doing everyone a big favour."

National Oral Health Day 2023 is Friday, 3 November.

Watch the full interview with Dr Amanda Johnston on 531pi's Pacific Days show below.

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