Campaigners for a tax on sugary drinks are a step closer after MPs on the Commons’ Health Select Committee backed its introduction. Weeks after a review by Public Health England also recommended a 10-20% tax on sugary drinks, as well as less sugar in everyday food and drink and a reduction in price promotions in shops, this endorsement has been welcomed by dental experts all over the UK.
How will a sugar tax work?
The Health Select Committee says there is ‘compelling evidence’ that introducing the tax as part of a set of ‘bold and urgent’ measures will decrease the consumption of sugar and, in so doing, reduce the number of cases of child obesity and tooth decay. Both dental experts and MPs agree that with sugar-related decayed tooth extractions being the single biggest reason of children being admitted to hospital, something must be done – and as a specialist dental practice that sees the effects of sugary drinks close up, we are eager to see if it can improve the dental fortunes of our London patients.
By imposing a tax of just 7p per regular-sized can of soft drink, it is estimated the Government could generate £1 billion per year which could be used to support preventative strategies in schools and the NHS. However, the Government’s response is that it ‘has no plans to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages but it will announce its plans for tackling childhood obesity by the end of this year.’
What else can we do?
While sugary drinks undoubtedly contribute to the shocking nature of child dental health statistics, the answer does not just lie with the sugar tax. Encouraging our children to take responsibility for their own oral health is also invaluable. At 76 Harley Street, we have brought together a team of experts into one central London specialist dental practice. Our team includes Joanna Johnson, a leading paediatric dentist, and Tracy Tang, an award-winning hygienist who has special experience of promoting good oral health among teenagers.