Concern around "coke babies"these children fed on sodas and suffering from early cavities

Health professionals warn about bottle syndrome: babies from the age of 12 months who already have mouths full of cavities.

They are called “Coca babies”, these young children with damaged, blackened teeth, fed with sugary drinks, in particular sodas and in particular Coca-Cola. A recent article from Mediacités also evokes this phenomenon in the Hauts-de-France, although it is not confined to this region.

Some health and early childhood professionals report that babies are used to drinking cola. On social networks, videos intended to be funny show parents toasting and making their young child – even their baby – drink Coca-Cola, sometimes poured directly into the bottle. Eating habits far from trivial.

Teeth in the state of roots

This phenomenon is well known to health professionals. “This is what was called the baby bottle syndrome”, explains to Marco Mazevet, general delegate of the union The dental surgeons of France. Babies who, from 12 months, already have black incisors, as if they had been nibbled.

“These are infants who fall asleep with a bottle or drink during the day and in the evening after meals sweet drinks, such as Coke. In the office, we receive children with teeth in the root state, very fragile and very infected.”

This syndrome, also called “early multiple caries in young children”, is manifested by the appearance of caries on the milk teeth, from the incisors to the canines, even to the molars.

“Saliva is no longer able to neutralize the acids that form after food intake, since these children are constantly consuming sugary drinks, which creates an imbalance, explains to Christophe Lequart, dental surgeon and wearer. -word of the French Union for Oral Health (UFSB). It’s double trouble with sodas: they are acidic products that demineralize the teeth.”

“marked inequalities”

In these children under 6 years of age, it is sometimes necessary to remove several teeth, or even almost all of the teeth. Some children thus find themselves without teeth until their permanent teeth grow, from the age of 5-6 years for the first and up to about 12 years.

“In children, it is very heavy as an operation, continues Christophe Lequart. And the consequences are multiple, as well for chewing, phonation as on the social level and self-esteem. Imagine the mockery that these children hear from their peers.”

There are no national or regional data on the extent of the problem. The latest figures date from 2006. At the time, the French Union for Oral and Dental Health (UFSBD) had investigated the health of children, demonstrating its improvement. She thus noted that at the age of 12, the carious index (which represents the average number of decayed, missing or filled teeth per child) – which was 4.20 in 1987 and 1.94 in 1998 – was 1.23 in 2006. And the rate of 6-year-old children totally free of cavities was 63.4% that year, again improving.

Haro on sugar

Despite a positive general picture, the UFSBD noted “marked” oral health “inequalities”. “At 12 years old, 6% of children who are not free have 50% of affected teeth and 20% have 72% of affected teeth.” Inequalities linked to the social situation of parents, pointed out the UFSBD. “Children of farmers, workers, the inactive, as well as children attending school in ZEPs or rural areas, are more significantly affected.”

For Marco Mazevet, Dental Surgeons of France, if this syndrome is linked to a lack of dental hygiene, it is also associated with bad eating habits. In particular an overconsumption of sugar, both in drinks and in solid food. He thus denounces the presence of hidden sugars in salty products, in particular processed products, and points to breakfast products intended for children.

“With a bowl of cereal in the morning, we have already consumed our daily dose of sugar, even without having drunk orange juice. Besides, we may have the impression that a glass of orange juice in the morning for a baby or a toddler it’s good for the health. But no, it’s too much. We are not made to swallow the equivalent of six oranges in twenty seconds.”

Coke, soda, fruit juice, syrup, flavored water

He recalls that the recommended daily dose of sugar is 25g for an adult, half for a child. For Christophe Lequart, whether it’s Coke, soda or fruit juice, the problem is the same: “it’s sugar”.

Oral health professionals recall the instruction: do not let a child fall asleep with a sugary drink, whether it is a cola, milk, syrup or flavored water. And it is essential to brush the teeth of children after meals in the morning and evening with fluoridated toothpaste. Beyond dental problems, Marco Mazevet warns of the long-term repercussions.

“The teeth are only the visible part of the human body. Such amounts of sugar ingested at such a young age make these children perfect candidates for diabetes or early obesity. We cannot imagine it but the impacts on health are catastrophic.”

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