You may be consuming more than you think….
It will come as little surprise to our patients that were were pleased to hear the Chancellor announce that there would be a sugar tax, in March’s budget.
This is a good start, and, if nothing else, will help to heighten people’s awareness of the issue that is contributing to children’s poor oral health and general obesity.
It is not all positive though, and the tax will not come into being for two years, and it is likely, during this period, that the food industry will either challenge it or attempt to find ways around the new tax. It was also not quite as comprehensive as we’d have liked and has quite a few anomalies which our Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey patients might be interested to discover.
The main target of this new tax are the various carbonated drinks. There is little doubt that these do contribute heavily to dental decay in children, and even the fact that they are carbonated is thought to add to this. All well and good; however, the tax exempts certain other drinks, and, for example, a milk based drink such as those based on popular chocolate bars, may well contain even higher levels of sugar but are not included in this tax.
From the perspective of this Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey dentist though, perhaps the most negative aspect of this tax is that it excludes fruit based drinks. Many of these contain added sugars, but even those that don’t, still contain high levels of natural fruit sugars which are just as destructive to the enamel on a child’s teeth. It is worth noting too, that some processed cheese rolls can contain even more sugar than a can of carbonated drink; so watching what we eat is equally important!
It is quite likely that, should prices rise significantly on carbonated drinks, many parents will look for an alternative option. With fruit being a healthy food, many parents will feel that, by switching to a fruit based drink, their child will be healthier. Sadly, whilst fruits do contain important vitamins, this switch is not likely to reduce the amount of children having emergency dental treatment for a toothache caused by decay. It may also have little effect on obesity too. So yet again, we have to understand the facts and be very careful how we react.
At The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, we believe that educating a child early on about good oral health is important, and we encourage parents to bring their children to us at an early age. Good habits developed early in life often remain throughout adulthood and we are sure all parents would like their children to have great looking, healthy teeth.
So, whilst the ‘sugar tax’ may be a start, it is certainly not something to rest on our laurels about, and good brushing and flossing, as well as visits to our friendly family dental practice are still necessary to keep your teeth and gums in good order.
Why not pay us a visit by arranging an appointment on 01992 643 388.