PLACING a sugar tax on sugary drinks is a ‘no brainer’ says a Leamington dentist.
Rob Morgan, of Space Healthcare on Clarendon Avenue, says the rise in tooth decay in children is alarming and must be tackled.
The Local Government Association (LGA) says the cost of removing decayed teeth in children in hospital has soared by 66 per cent since 2010, blaming the increase on fizzy drinks and foods high in sugar.
He said: “We can’t wait two years for the introduction of the sugar levy – we need to act now.
“Tooth decay is the number one cause of tooth extraction in hospital among young children, with an average of 26,000 five to nine year-olds admitted with problems caused by tooth decay every year, a rise of ten per cent.”
Referring to the proposed sugar levy, he said taxing sugary drinks was a ‘no brainer’ and would result in far fewer hospital admissions, not only for tooth decay but also for diabetes, coronary heart disease and bowel cancer.
“Sugar is cheap, addictive and nutrient-free and is costing the health service billions. Health professionals are confronting a preventable epidemic and parents, government and the food industry all need play their part. It’s only right the drinks companies should make a fair contribution.”
Mr Morgan said cavities occurred when the mouth’s bacteria left acid behind as a waste product, eating away at the enamel, and that refined sugars were more likely to cause that than any other foods.
He added it was important that teeth were brushed twice a day, using a fluoride toothpaste, and was especially important last thing at night when the body stopped making saliva – which helps neutralise acid – during sleep, enabling acid to attack the teeth.
“After all, you only get one set of teeth so it’s important to look after them,” he said.