Aussie sports clubs planning to ban traditional half-time snack

If you grew up playing sport on the weekend, there’s a good chance you have fond memories of chowing down on oranges at halftime.

But for concerned Aussie parents, that’s a little too dicey for their aspiring athletes.

Some sporting clubs in South Australia are looking to ban the fruit over concerns that the high level of acid produced in oranges is bad for kids’ teeth.

The West Adelaide Soccer Club is among those open to eschewing the halftime tradition, which is largely being driven at the behest of parents, the club’s chairman Alex Alexandrou told 7News.

"It's something that seems to have evolved from parents talking to other parents and saying, 'Look, let's not go the oranges, let's give the kids a sugar hit'," he said.

Instead, parents are reportedly opting for the surprise substitute of lollies to give their kids a sugar hit.

It's the Aussie way, but should we stay away from oranges at halftime? Source: AAP

It might sound a bit pedantic, but concern over orange acidity at sporting events has been around for a while.

Netball Queensland, an umbrella body for dozens of netball associations in the state, sanctioned a ban against halftime oranges as far back as 2009 – much to the chagrin of local growers.

"Most of our associations have banned oranges at halftime or are discouraging coaches from offering oranges," a Netball Queensland spokeswoman said at the time.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) was unable to offer an official opinion on the matter by the time of publication, but it too has previously offered some food for thought, suggesting oranges aren’t the best halftime snack.

At the time of Queensland’s ban, Dr Derek Lewis from the ADA's oral health committee agreed oranges and athletes were not a good mix.

It’s true that oranges are among certain citrus fruits that are high in enamel-damaging acid but the real problem is the potential dehydration of the players when they are consumed, dentists say.

"When you're dehydrated, the level of saliva goes down considerably, so the concern is that saliva won't actually be able to come through and repair the surface of the tooth," dentist Dr George Mandranis told 7News.

However he conceded that once a week would be unlikely to cause any problems.

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