Sugary drinks and junk food blamed as kids have rotten baby teeth pulled out

Children as young as 18 months old are having multiple rotten teeth pulled out as parents feed toddlers soft drinks through sipper bottles, and chocolate biscuits and Milo as bedtime treats.

Dentist and veteran anti-sugar lobbyist Rob Beaglehole said he pulled several teeth on Monday from an 18-month-old, and had once treated a 2-year-old who had been drinking Coke from a baby bottle. The child’s teeth had dissolved down to the gum line and were bleeding.

Beaglehole, a father of two and principal dental officer for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, recently extracted 11 teeth from a 3-year-old whose parents had let him drink Coke from a sipper bottle to “keep him happy”

New Zealand is the 11th largest consumer of soft drinks,  including fizzy carbonated drinks, concentrates such as cordial, juice, sports and energy drinks, bottled waters and ready-to-drink tea and coffee.

* Kiwis, on average, consume about 54 kilograms of sugar a year, equivalent to 37 teaspoons of sugar a person every day.

* In 2014 Kiwis drank a total of 518.30 million litres, up from 515m litres in 2013.