Banning Orange Slices in Youth Sports?

I thought this was a joke when I saw the headline, but it’s not. An Australian sports authority for netball has banned oranges at games due to the potential for damage to kid’s teeth. I’m not kidding.

The umbrella body for 82 netball associations has sanctioned the ban based on the high acid levels of oranges and the potential damage to children’s teeth. “Most of our associations have banned oranges at half-time or are discouraging coaches from offering oranges,” said a Netball Queensland spokeswoman.

Netball Queensland’s consultant dietitian Kerry Leech said acidity was the problem. “When players come off the court at half-time they’re generally a bit dehydrated and the worst thing for teeth in that environment is acid, because it erodes the enamel,” Ms Leech said. “So we’re encouraging fluids to re-hydrate at half-time rather than eating half an orange.”

For real? My players have chewed on orange slices at games in hot weather forever. It’s not about re-hydration – it’s about the boost of sugar and such. Plus the kids LIKE them. If a kid eats an orange slice then drinks water, essentially washing the acid away – are we really that concerned about the potential for tooth decay? And if the kids are regularly brushing anyway – is the risk that bad to necessitate a ban like this? Something tells me there is no study about kids eating oranges after athletic activity and does it damage enamel more than normal. But now there’s a control group!

Can you imagine USYSA or USSF trying to mandate a ban like this is the US?

H/T 101Espn @ ToastedRev

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  1. Are you kidding me? This seems like a pretty ridiculous rule. Aren’t oranges one of the most nutritious, whole foods out there? I mean, they are naturally occurring, come in their own wrapper, portable, and people have been eating them for centuries.

    This is just plain odd!

  2. I was given some orange slices for the first time for our U10s team last Sunday – no uptake whatsoever all wanting there expensive sports drinks that mummy and daddy had bought for them!!

  3. I really can’t believe that they would even try to do something like this … All that it takes is one law suit to mess it up for all of us.

  4. We usually have orange slices and grapes for halftime when it’s really hot out or early in the morning. Some of the girls like the orange slices, others the grapes – both get eaten, though not always.

    But I can honestly say ‘tooth decay’ never crossed my mind when we opened them up for the girls.

    It’s the Air Head candy they buy from the concession stand – now THAT stuff will rot your teeth! :)

  5. I agree with no oranges at half-time not because of tooth decay but because they are messy and sticky. The kids are sticking their dirty hands into the container and the assistant coach gets stuck cleaning up the rinds that hit the dirt. Half the kids don’t even like them.

    I played sports as a child out in the hot sun for hours without even a water bottle! We were lucky to find a hose or slimy water fountain outside the school. Skip the oranges and have them hydrate with water, it’s the best thing. They can have a snack at the end of the game instead to re-carb.

  6. Okay, if you soak the teeth in oranges for weeks, you could have a problem with acid levels, sure.

    My kids like the oranges, and some parents enjoy bringing them. We only get them occasionally, though.

    I prefer plain water for hydration. I appreciate the messyness of oranges, and the coach (me) often has to pick up the bits and throw them away. And, you need wipes for the kids. But, it’s not a lot messier than trying to get the kids to pick up their waterbottles after practice, and a lot more biodegradable. (Although, oranges actually are in addition to whatever drink the kids bring, not in place of …)

    I way skip the high-fructose-corn-syrupy “sport” drink and bring water. Oranges are a plus.



  7. Why is everyone up in arms about this? As science teaches us more things about the way substances interact with our bodies, we modify our behavior. Yes, of course, oranges are healthy. But if they’re eating away at tooth enamel, that’s a problem! Why can’t we all accept that instead of griping that this is “ridiculous” and “unnecessary?”

    A few decades ago, scientists figured out that cigarettes were bad for our lungs. I have a feeling the commenters above might’ve had similar problems with that conclusion.

  8. I played netball every Saturday morning and had chilled orange quarters, I can’t imagine a better sports quarter or halftime snack.

  9. This interests me as we’ve been told not to provide oranges at our daughter’s netball as well. They are happy to give the girls lollies instead!! Can you seriously tell me that that is better for them…I don’t think so somehow. The kids drink a lot of water when running around. Surely this washes away the risk of tooth decay??? I would really like to see the research results done on this.