HAMBURG (WAOW) -
Students at Maple Grove School in Hamburg are learning how to say no to sugary foods.
"It's preventing sugar from your teeth because I have a bunch of cavities and fillings in me," said Caden Grenwalt, a student at Maple Grove School.
More than 50 percent of third graders have already had a cavity, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. That's one reason Maple Grove School students participated in Sugar Out Day on Friday.
"We thought if we educated children at a younger age as they become young adults they'll remember some of the good oral hygiene that we taught them," said Jane Bentz, the Director of the Foundation and Community Outreach at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center.
The Lincoln County Oral Health Coalition gave hands-on demonstrations, showing how much sugar is in students' favorite foods.
"A cinnamon bun has about 17 teaspoons of sugar," said Grenwalt.
Health officials say all that sugar wears down tooth enamel, making it easier to get a cavity.
"It really does total up," said Shelley Hersil, the Lincoln County Health Dept. Director. "So first of all eat healthier snacks, eat healthier food with less sugar and you are going to eat sugar have good hygiene, so brushing your teeth."
Students signed a pledge that they and their families would stay sugar free the entire day.
"We wanted to make sure the family is pledging for a sugar free day as well, because of course parents are role models for their children," said Hersil.
Students say next time they reach for candy, they may think twice.
"We should be a lot more healthier," said Grenwalt. "My mom and dad are starting to do that."
All fourth graders in the Merrill school district received a dental health kit, which included a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.