Child's teeth

Sugar-free schools by 2022

04 June 2019

The dental health of children in London is not good.

By the age of five, over a quarter of our children are suffering from tooth decay. Bad dental health is unfairly spread around London too; a child in Bexley has much better teeth than one in Brent. [1]

Sugar is one of the biggest causes and a number of schools in London have become ‘sugar-free’. This means no sugary drinks, crisps or chocolate are allowed in packed lunches.

Today, the London Assembly Health Committee publishes the report ‘Child Dental Health: Keeping the tooth fairy away’. One of the main recommendations is that all schools in London should be sugar-free by 2022.


Some of the recommendations include:

  • Supervised brushing in schools
  • Every child in London needs to see a dentist at least by age one.
  • The Mayor should appoint a specialist in children’s dental health to the Child Obesity Taskforce


The Chair of the Health Committee, Dr Onkar Sahota, said:

“Research in recent years has told us just how dangerous excess sugar is in our diet.

“Tooth decay and diabetes are just some of the many negative outcomes if precautions are not taken.

“Schools are the centre of a child’s education and a commitment to sugar-freedom would be revolutionary. Every child in London could have a sugar-free start in life – the health benefits would be enormous.

“The Mayor has the clout to encourage families and schools to make sure London children see dentists as early as possible, be part of a supervised brushing scheme and keep sugar to a minimum.”

Notes to editors

  1. The report is below.
  2. [1] A borough breakdown of bad dental health is available
  3. Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
  4. London Assembly Health Committee
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.


For media enquiries, please contact Funmi Olutoye on 020 7084 2713. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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