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Public demand tax on sugary drinks

A recent poll has revealed that nearly half the UK population, 30 million people, are in favour of putting a tax on food and drink that are high in sugar.

The British Dental Health Foundation, promoters of the annual National Smile Month  carried out the recent survey which showed that health concerns were a priority for many of the UK population.

This information comes in the wake of much recent news coverage about the effects of a poor diet on our health.   More than two-thirds of UK adults are now overweight or obese. 

This is contributing to a growing social and economic burden of diseases linked to poor oral health such as cardiovascular disease and Diabetes.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, recently explained: “The increase in the consumption of sugary drinks is one of the key reasons for dental decay, particularly in children.  The introduction of a tax on sugary drinks would bring numerous benefits.   Consumption would inevitably fall bringing benefits to people’s general and dental health as well as relieving financial pressure on the already overloaded health industry.”

Research by fellows in Universities such as Liverpool University have calculated that a tax of 20p per litre would save the NHS in the region of £15million per year.

Other countries, such as France and Hungary have already introduced a sugary drinks tax which is proving to pay dividends to their population.

Young people are the largest consumers in the UK of sugary drinks.   It is also a fact that dental decay is the Number 1 reason for hospital admissions in the UK of children between the ages of 5-8.

Top tips for parents to help their child keep their teeth healthy:

  1. Limit sugar intake: Bacteria that lives on the teeth rapidly converts sugar into acid which dissolves the tooth enamel. The risk of developing decay increases as the amount and frequency of sugar consumption rises.

  2. Brush regularly: Keeping teeth clean by regular brushing helps prevent decay.  All children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm. After the age of three, toothpaste should contain 1350ppm-1500ppm. Children's brushing should be supervised until the age of 7 or 8. 

  3. Don't miss your check-ups: Dentists should encourage their patients to bring their children with them from an early age so any oral health problems can be spotted early.

  4. Put away unhealthy snacks: Breadsticks, nuts and raw vegetables are far better alternatives to sugary snacks. Look out for raisins. These can stick to teeth and attack enamel and so should be consumed after meals, rather than as a snack.

  5. Watch out for 'hidden' sugars: Pure fruit juices can be a healthy choice, but the natural sugars these contain can still damage teeth, so fruit juice should be consumed with a meal and only one glass (150ml) a day. Sugars in whole pieces of fruit are less likely to cause tooth decay as they are combined with fibre.

For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180


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