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Data released during Dental Health Week shows that daily sugary drink intake for South Australian children has risen by more than 5 per cent in the past year.

Cancer Council SA Accredited Practising Dietitian Karissa Deutrom said these new results are concerning, but unsurprising given the pester power of unhealthy advertising to kids.

“Evidence shows that drinking sweet drinks every day significantly increases our risk of tooth decay and obesity, and obesity is a risk factor for developing 13 types of cancer. Cancer Council SA wants to reverse the trend we’re seeing towards children consuming sugary drinks.”

“We recognise how difficult it is for parents, as kids are targeted with sugary drink advertising when they watch videos online, via billboards at bus stops, and on television.”

“Switching our drink of choice to tap water is a cheap and simple way we can all improve our health.  Plain low-fat milk also provides important nutrients for children such as calcium, which supports healthy teeth.”

Dr Greg Miller from the Australian Dental Foundation supports the Cancer Council SA Rethink Sugary Drinks campaign, which aims to encourage people to choose tap water over other drinks.

“Tooth decay is on the rise in Australia, with more than half of all 6-year-olds having some decay in their baby or adult teeth,” he said.

“In 2019-20, the rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions was highest among children aged five to nine years (8.6 per 1,000 population).

“This reflects the importance of regular dental examination and preventive action to care for your teeth and gums from an early age, which is why the Australian Dental Foundation offers free on-site dental services to children below the age of 18, regardless of their financial status.  Parents interested in giving their child a healthy smile for life, should speak to their school to arrange a visit,” he said.

“The Australian Dental Foundation is really excited to visit schools Statewide and work with Cancer Council SA to educate South Aussie families and empower them to make healthy decisions now, which will ensure a healthier, happier future.”

For more information visit the Cancer Council SA website.  Interviews with Mrs Deutrom and Dr Miller can be arranged on request.

Notes to Editor

  • Drink data sourced from the South Australian Population Health Survey 2020 and 2021 Adults (ages 18 years and over) Children (ages 1 to 17), Wellbeing SA.
  • Sugary drinks included soft drinks, sports drink and energy drink.
  • Drinking sweet drinks each day will significantly increase your risk of tooth decay and dental erosion.
  • Drinking sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn weight gain and obesity, which is a leading risk factor for 13 types of cancer.
  • Cancer Council recommends avoiding sugary drinks and choosing water or reduced-fat milk instead.
  • In 2019–20, the age-standardised rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) was highest in those aged five to nine years (8.6 per 1,000 population). Source: AIHW 2022

About Cancer Council SA
Cancer Council SA is South Australia’s leading cancer charity working across every aspect of every cancer. Here in SA, every day, we support families affected by cancer when they need it most, speak out on behalf of the community on cancer issues, empower people to reduce their cancer risk, and find new ways to better detect and treat cancer. With your help, we’re getting closer to a cancer free future every day. Find out more at

About Australian Dental Foundation
The Australian Dental Foundation is a national award-winning health promotion charity, passionately committed to improving Australia’s oral health outcomes and well-being. Their programs help to address inequalities in oral health through expanding access to compassionate, quality and professional oral health care for those whom suffer the greatest burden of oral disease in Australia.  The programs target support for at risk cohorts including children, adolescents, seniors, and people with specialised health care needs. Find out more at