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Sugary drinks tax ‘will help combat tooth decay’

Posted by Allie Wright

A new study has suggested that a tax on sugary drinks could help lower levels of tooth decay in the UK.

Researchers from Oxford and Reading universities have released what is being described as the most detailed report of its kind into the issued.

It has been published in the British Medical Journal today (November 1st).

Experts have calculated that a 20 per cent tax on the drinks would reduce the number of purchases made by around 15 per cent.

In real terms, this equates to a can of Coca-Cola costing around 12 pence more.

According to the research, a regular 500ml bottle of some fizzy drinks contain as much as 14 teaspoons-worth of sugar.   

Scientists also predicted that the main demographic to be affected by any increase in price would be younger people, with the average 16 to 29-year-old consuming around 300ml of sugary drinks every day.

The Treasury would benefit to the tune of around £276 million if the tax were to become a reality, while the number of obese adults in the UK would also be reduced by around 180,000.

Whether a tax comes into force on the industry or not, the news could prompt an opportunity for dental marketing campaigns to promote the negative effects that drinking sugary drinks can have on patients’ teeth.

The NHS advises that people should avoid drinking beverages which contain sugar in order to reduce the risk of getting tooth decay – which it is estimated affects around 31 per cent of adults in the country.

In children, the problem also affects nearly a third of those aged 12 and over – with symptoms including toothache, pain when eating and visible spots on the teeth.

The Department of Health has responded to the study, stating that it will “keep all international evidence under review”.

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