Suckers for 'sour sweets'.
EXPERTS have raised concerns about the impact of a new generation of super-sour sweets on children's teeth.
Research in Cardiff suggests schoolchildren are drawn to the garish sweets, which are packed with sugar and acids.
But it is feared parents are largely unaware of these sweets and they are being eaten by children "under the radar".
Using novelty packaging, including tiny toilets, blood bags, toxic waste barrels and baby bottles, the sweets are marketed as "dangerously sour" and are sold at pocket money prices.
Eating too many of these sweets could encourage tooth decay or dental erosion because of their sugar and acid content - one such sweet manufacturer was forced to amend its recipe after children suffered burned and blistered mouths.
A short research project by Cardiff University's School of Dentistry found school children, aged nine and 10, were aware where they could buy these sweets, often in shops near their schools, and of the prices - they range from 25p to pounds 1. But when asked whether eating them was associated with any health problems, they gave vague answers, such as "they make you sick" or "bad for your teeth".
One young boy told the researchers: "They say: 'You should not have that because it's either too dear or it will rot your teeth.' I'm like, I'm going to lose half of these anyway so, like, rock on."
Maria Morgan, a lecturer in dental public health, said: "There are a couple of issues about these sweets; they are very sweet and contain acids as well, but they are also being eaten by children under the radar - many adults and parents aren't aware of these sweets, which are being sold at pocket-money prices.
"Another factor is that children can put the lid back on them and then come back to them. This doesn't give the mouth a rest.
"When you have a bar of chocolate, you eat it and then it's gone. But with these sweets you could be sucking on them all day."
Some of these novelty sweets contain a double hit of sugar - one variety of novelty sweet, modelled on a baby's bottle, consists of a hard candy teat and a bottle of sherbet.
* Sweets, containing a high amount of sugar, and E numbers * Tasty treat - but super-sour sweets are being eaten 'under the radar' by some youngsters