The Childhood Obesity Plan, announced by the Government in August, didn’t go far enough on sugar consumption for many people and was regarded as “watered down” from the original proposals. Amongst its detractors were various health groups and even one major supermarket chain.
In October, the British Dental Association (BDA) announced that it was supporting Action on Sugar’s call for a reduction in sugar levels in some popular foods – an announcement that is wholeheartedly supported by many dentists, including those here at central London specialist dental practice 76 Harley Street.
Sugar consumption and tooth decay
It’s a startling fact that the primary reason for children to be admitted to hospital is tooth decay and many would argue that is reason alone to support the campaign.
As the BDA Health and Science Chair, Russ Ladwa said, “Dentists have known for a long time that excessive sugar consumption is bad for children’s teeth and research shows that there is a clear link between eating sugar and poor oral health”.
The BDA’s campaign focuses on reformulation of many popular products which are marketed to children. Along with Action on Sugar it believes that the Government’s target of 20% reduction in sugar content by 2020 is easily achievable, given that some manufacturers are already hitting those levels now on certain popular products.
Government should involve dentists in policy making
In an article about sugar and children’s oral health the BDA calls for some basic measures to be enforced to help reduce sugar consumption. These include a sugar tax on soft drinks; stricter controls on marketing and advertising and clearer labelling and investment in prevention.
The BDA also calls for more joined-up thinking, with oral health becoming part of the wider health debate and suggests that Government should involve dentists in policy making.
Ladwa neatly sums up the campaign, “We’ve been calling for a range of measures to combat the growing problem of children’s oral health – there is no easy solution, but if Government, manufacturers, supermarkets, advertisers, healthcare professionals and parents work together, there is some hope that our children’s teeth can be saved.”
Here at central London specialist dental practice 76 Harley Street, all our dental experts, from dental surgeons to hygienists, are all too aware of the damage that sugar can do to the teeth, and we make sure to not only warn parents of this, but to offer advice on alternative, sugar-free snacks, drinks and treats.