Last Wednesday in his Budget speech, Chancellor George Osborne announced a controversial Sugar Tax on soft drinks. The higher rate of 24p per litre will be imposed on drinks that contain over 8g of sugar per 100ml of drink. Drinks containing 5g – 8g per 100ml will be subject to a lower rate tax of 18p per litre. The tax is due to come into effect in 2018 to provide drinks manufacturers with time to change their ingredients if they wish.
This sugar tax immediately generated wildly differing reactions from people such as Jamie Oliver who celebrated the announcement, to others who condemned the move as yet a further indication of ‘Nanny State’ interference and an attack on personal choice.
So as the leading dentist Manchester practice, what is our reaction to the sugar tax?
Well, quite naturally speaking as dentists who witness almost every day the devastating effects on children’s teeth that drinking sweet, fizzy drinks can have, then we have to say that any action to reduce the amount of sugar consumed has to be a good thing.
But we also have to ask ourselves whether sugar rationing should be the parent’s decision and not the state’s and also if this represents such a dramatic health improvement policy, why restrict it only to soft drinks? What about sweets and chocolate, sugary snacks, cakes … and even sugar loaded milky drinks?
Of course no Chancellor could ever impose all that and keep his party in power. So in many respects the new tax appears to be an appeasement to the anti-sugar and child obesity lobby … and of course a way of generating more funds for the national kitty.
Having said that, as the premier dentist Manchester practice we know that there is no doubt about it that sugar-laden drinks are a major cause of the kind of ‘acid attack’ that can be ruinous to young teeth. Even worse are sugary fizzy drinks when sugar and carbonic acid combine with devastating effect to erode the teeth’s enamel leading to rapid tooth decay, pain and misery for the youngsters.
Too much sugar is also a proven contributor to child obesity and also to diabetes, a condition that can often lead to other illnesses and symptoms, including dental health problems.
Our advice to parents is quite simple. Try to ration the amount of sugar your young children eat and drink. You don’t have to ban it completely, but never let them constantly binge on sweet foods and drinks. A sweet treat at mealtimes is the best practice and plain or fruity water (without added sugar) is preferable.
The other ‘Golden Rule’ has to be to teach children how to brush their teeth properly and to instill a regular cleaning routine and teeth brushing habit from an early age.
Members of our hygiene team are always available and are always happy to meet parents and children to discuss the effects of how too much sugar can lead to early tooth decay and they will gladly teach them how to brush their teeth properly.
If you have any concerns about your children’s teeth then please do not hesitate to make an appointment to see one of our dentist Manchester team or a member of our hygiene team. You can call us on 0161 951 7295 or you can also go to our Appointments page where you can send an online form to book an appointment.