WIMMERA residents consume more soft drink daily than the average Victorian.
New Dental Health Services Victoria figures show 17 per cent of Hindmarsh residents drink soft drink every day – higher than the statewide average of 12 per cent.
Other Wimmera municipalities are also above average with 16 per cent of people in Yarriambiack drinking soft drink daily, 14 per cent in Horsham Rural City, 13 per cent in Northern Grampians and 14 per cent in West Wimmera.
The figures also show more than half of Wimmera residents are not eating enough fruit and vegetables.
The number of people who smoke is above average in Hindmarsh and Yarriambiack, but below average in Horsham, Northern Grampians and West Wimmera.
Dental Health Services Victoria chief executive Deborah Cole said the figures raised concerns for oral health.
“Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which include all non-alcoholic water based beverages with added sugar such as soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks, have a big impact on oral health,” she said.
“Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth that uses sugar from foods and drinks to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth.
“Soft drinks have high levels of sugar and drinking these regularly can significantly contribute to tooth decay.
“Soft drinks also have high acid levels that dissolve the outer surface of tooth enamel leading to tooth erosion.”
Dr Cole said consumption of sugary drinks was also associated with a range of serious health issues including weight gain and obesity, which were risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
“Good oral health is crucial for overall health and wellbeing and yet, while being largely preventable, tooth decay remains Victoria’s most prevalent health problem – five times more prevalent than asthma,” she said.
“There are strong links between lifestyle behaviours such as drinking soft drink and increased risk of tooth decay and other dental issues.”