Addressing hidden hunger and malnutrition should be central to Covid-19 response

30 October 2020
1 min read

Marcus Rashford’s campaign for an extension of the free school meal voucher system is supported by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry. With a clear known link between dental decay and poor nutrition as well as between food insecurity and poverty, free school meals for children are a quick and easy way to support vulnerable children.

Claire Stevens, spokesperson for BSPD said, “We think half-term and holiday free school meals should be extended until we fully understand the implications of the pandemic. We know that there are families struggling to make ends meet and who are unable to afford healthier, fresher foods, which may in turn lead to poor eating habits. Snacking on foods high in hidden sugar is a significant factor in dental decay.”

Claire continued, “Addressing hidden hunger and malnutrition should be central to society’s Covid-19 response. This year has been so hard for some families. As a society, we have an ethical duty not to stand by and let it get worse. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen. One way to combat health inequalities is to give children healthy diets to support their immune systems and reduce the risk of dental decay.

“We know that children from lower socio-economic groups are more likely to experience dental problems and have more difficulty accessing a dentist. Dental decay is not just about one-off toothache, it’s about sleepless nights, it’s about not being able to learn at school and it’s about parents taking time off work to get their child to the dentist. What’s needed is more support and education for families around caring for teeth and having a healthy diet.

“Any families wanting to know what the best advice is for keeping teeth strong and healthy should watch the videos BSPD and Brush DJ made with Dr Ranj. In just a few minutes they tell you everything you need to know.”

To view the videos: