The Irish Dental Association has criticised a decision by the Minister for Finance not to ring fence revenue raised through the introduction of a sugar tax to fund oral health promotion initiatives.
The IDA had previously called for a percentage of the revenue raised from any ‘sugar tax’ to be directed towards oral healthcare programmes.
It’s understood the Minister intends to introduce a sugar tax next April to coincide with the introduction of a similar tax in the UK.
The IDA said that due to the negative effect which the overconsumption of sweetened soft drinks have on dental health and the unprecedented cutbacks which the country’s two main dental schemes have suffered, it was logical that a proportion of any monies raised should be allocated to dental health.
The Chief Executive of the IDA, Fintan Hourihan said the Association was extremely disappointed with the decision and was calling on the Minister to reconsider it.
“Dental decay is the most common chronic disease young children experience in Ireland today. This is due in the main to very high levels of sugar consumption, including soft drinks. The direct link between sugar intake and dental decay has been clearly established so it makes sense that a significant proportion of the monies raised through a sugar tax should be used for oral health promotion. This is the point the Minister for Health needs to make forcefully with his ministerial colleague.”
“Our members will definitely be discussing this issue when they meet for the IDA annual conference in Kilkenny next week and I’m sure they’ll be venting their anger at Minister Noonan’s decision” Hourihan concluded.