New study suggests 270,000 cases of decay could be prevented by a sugar tax

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A new study has suggested that a sugar tax could prevent 270,000 cases of dental decay each year.

The study, which has been published in the Lancet and is entitled ‘The health impact assessment of the UK drinks levy: a comparative risk assessment modelling study’, suggests that the number of children affected by decay could be cut by almost 300,000 if a tax was imposed. Recently, government ministers announced that added tax would be introduced in 2018 in a bid to reduce consumption of fizzy drinks and try and bring down rates of decay, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Mick Armstrong, from the British Dental Association, said that the research underlines the influence of sugary drinks, with many young children taking in “the equivalent of a bathtub of these drinks every year.” Some cans of popular drinks contain up to 9 teaspoons of sugar, despite the fact the recommended daily intake for children is around 5-6.

Researchers suggest the estimated saving to the NHS would equate to £834 per child, resulting in dramatic annual savings on child dental care. Currently, statistics show that hundreds of children are ending up in hospital having extraction under general anaesthetic as a result of tooth decay.

Mr Armstrong has called for manufacturers to take note of the study findings, and play their part in “weaning Britain off its sugar addiction.”

The latest figures from Public Health England claim that a quarter of children suffer from tooth decay in England.

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