SUGAR TAX IS NO SILVER BULLET FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH

In a move, that even took celebrity campaigner Jamie Oliver by surprise, George Osborne brought in a tax on sugary drinks in an attempt to tackle childhood obesity.

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The fact that oral health was not cited in the announcement has left some in the dental profession wondering if the Government are going to address the worrying increase in childhood tooth extractions?

Dr Sarah Wollaton MP, Chair of the Health Committee commented that a sugar tax is not a 'silver bullet' and that she urged the Prime Minister to introduce 'bold and wide ranging measures within his childhood obesity strategy."

What is really needed, in addition to the work on obesity, is education on the hidden sugars in food and drink. Many parents are unaware of the dangers of long term exposure to such things as dried fruit and giving small children bottle milk as a comforter when going to sleep. Both these practices expose children to high levels of  sugar which cause decay if allowed to remain in contact with tooth enamel for prolonged periods.

We reported recently on the increase in children attending A&E for tooth extraction so this is a growing problem.

Undoubtedly, a sugar tax is a move in the right direction but it is important that Government shows that this is not just a sop but the beginning of a strategy to solve the problem of infant tooth decay and tooth loss.