SUGARY puddings should be scrapped in school canteens to improve childrens' teeth, dental leaders in Glasgow have said.

The Faculty of Dental Surgery, which represents more than a thousand dentists and trainees, called on primary schools to take unhealthy desserts off their lunchtime menus, and instead, offer pupils s choice of soup or fruit.

It said the choice of”soup or pudding” was common but while soup can provide a good source of vegetables, puddings serve up ‘excess free sugar, salt and fat.’

In its response to a government consultation on school meals, the faculty said: “This menu choice should be stopped along with any other practices that undermine the healthier choice. An alternative might be “soup or fresh fruit”, as both/either will provide at least one additional portion of fruit or vegetables.”

Figures show around a third of Scottish children currently suffer from dental decay.

Read more: Will your child benefit from free school meals expansion?

Professor Graham Ogden, Faculty Dean, said it was also, “totally opposed” to the inclusion of sugar free ‘diet’ drinks in schools because of the damaging effects on teeth and because they can be a ‘gateway to sugar.’

The dental faculty of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, has also called for tooth brushing facilities to be freely available and restrictions on red meat.

Professor Ogden said: “We fully support the positive intention of these proposed regulations, but we feel that the Scottish Government should take a bolder approach if it’s to ensure that our young people have the healthiest possible start in life.

“For example, we all agree that children should have greater access to more fruit and vegetables as part of their school day, but increasing access does not necessarily increase consumption.

Read more: More than a 1000 children under five had teeth extractions 

“The guidance must include an evidence based plan to ensure any increase in provision also ensures that our young people consume larger amounts of healthier food during school meals.

“Our membership also welcome the intention to reduce the free sugar content of school meals. However, we totally oppose the inclusion of sugar free drinks on the list of permitted drinks for secondary school as this could see the reintroduction of diet fizzy drinks.

“This intention is a mistake and we suggest that it must not be permitted.

“Diet drinks cause dental erosion, in addition to being a gateway to sugar. We should aim to ensure that our children’s oral health gets off to the best possible start in life.”