‘Sugar tax’ call after toddlers hospitalised

PUBLISHED: 09:43 28 July 2015 | UPDATED: 09:43 28 July 2015

Tooth decay for the UK

Tooth decay for the UK

Archant

Exmouth dentists and health bosses are backing calls for a ‘sugar tax’ on soft drinks, after 368 children were admitted to Wonford last year to have health-threatening rotting teeth removed.

And county health bosses say that in Devon in the previous year, 2013/2014, tooth decay was the main reason for children aged five to nine being admitted to hospital.

Figures obtained by the Journal through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Wonford – the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital – shows the numbers of children aged five to 15 in 2014/2015 admitted for ‘paediatric tooth extractions’.

And of the 368 children admitted, 60 – 16 per cent – were aged 14.

Now health chiefs, local dentists, and the British Dental Association (BDA) are pushing for a tax, of up to 20 per cent, on soft drinks.

It follows George Freeman, the life sciences minister, backing such a move.

Dentist Kyle Durman, of Fairfield House Dental Surgery in Salterton Road, said: “We would support the BDA’s positive stance on the ‘sugar tax’ and believe that any efforts taken to try to reduce dental decay in our population, particularly young people, can only be good.

“Research shows that soft drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children and teenagers.”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “We welcome the introduction of any measure that will help reduce dental decay.

“Sugary drinks cause tooth decay and are also high in calories, which contribute to weight gain and obesity.

“Public Health England is currently reviewing the evidence on the impact of price policies such a sugary drinks duty, and will advise government later this year.

“Price policies have the potential, combined with early intervention and campaigns such Change4Life Sugar Swaps, to help cut sugar intake.”


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