Dentists say any revenue from proposed 'sugar tax' should go to dental care.

Dentists say any revenue from proposed 'sugar tax' should go to dental care.

(13 Nov 2012)

Tuesday 13th November 2012.

The Irish Dental Association has called on the Government to ensure that a percentage of any revenue raised through a proposed ‘sugar tax’ on soft drinks should go towards an oral healthcare programme.

The IDA said that due to the negative effect which the consumption of soft drinks have on dental health and the 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 IDA said the Medical Card and the PRSI schemes had led to a huge improvement in the dental health of the nation and both schemes needed to be restored to their former status as a matter of urgency.

However dentist and food scientist Dr Michael Crowe of the IDA, said the issue was complex and that overall the Association was not persuaded of the merits of such a tax in tackling obesity levels.

“The national consumption data for these products do not show a correlation between increased consumption of soft drinks and indices of obesity. From a dental perspective it is clear that a reduction in the frequency and volume of intake of any sugary drink or food may help in reducing the risk of dental caries. As sugar sweetened beverages are poor in nutrients, recommendations to limit their intake would generally appear to be important for the promotion of good nutrition. What is clear is that we need to reduce our consumption of all sugary drinks. So reducing consumption is not the issue, finding the best way to achieve that is.

Given that 60% of the population do not consume SSB any measure aimed at taxing this food group would potentially target a minority of the population. The introduction of such a tax would also have a disproportionate effect on lower income households.

But Dr Crowe said any evidence-based measure that would help to reduce the frequency and volume of consumption of high sugar content drinks or foods would be welcome from a dental health point of view.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter/Irishdentists

For Further Information
Contact Kieran Garry
Gordon MRM
01/6650455 or 087/2368366