Sugar ‘providing fuel for the bacteria’
Rheumatic fever mostly affects poor Pacific and Māori children.
It starts with strep throat and can lead to scarring and damage within the heart. Children who have suffered rheumatic fever often need heart surgery later in life and some will die prematurely.
“Having a lot of sugar in the diet causes both bad teeth to develop but also it increases the chances that if that child comes into contact with a bacteria that it will take hold and cause disease in the mouth and in the body.”
He said sugar was the culprit.
New options for prevention
Dental therapist Rachel Bridgeman of Simply Dental, a mobile dental programme for adolescents, said she was extracting and filling more teeth than ever.
“The sugary drinks, what these kids eat, is insane. It’s just setting up for not just dental issues but a huge range of other issues that result from a bad diet.”
Ms Bridgeman said the study should be used to put pressure on sugary drinks makers. “Actually putting a little bit of responsibility back on the people who are actually selling this and the way we market the stuff because we’re teaching people that its normal.”
Something to consider next time we shower our children with sweets, sugary drinks etc