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Sweet Tooth or Sugar Tax: Should we have a sugar tax debated in Putney

Dentists and doctors have been seeing the harmful effects of sugar on the health of the population for many years now. Children’s teeth are ravaged by fizzy drinks, and many more children are suffering from obesity and diabetes.  But the moment it is suggested a sugar tax is imposed everyone is up in arms in Putney. Many see it as an affront to their liberty as opposed to an essential step to protect the health of a nation, in the same way tax on cigarettes and alcohol does.  The kids might be leaner, fitter and have better teeth, but woe betide anyone who tries to interfere with parents’ right to stuff them full of sugar. We were equally alarmed when fluoride was first added to drinking water, but the benefits we have all enjoyed, by having healthier teeth and fewer fillings, are now being eroded by our addiction to excess sugar, processed food and poor diet. If you need help with caring for your teeth  and understanding the harmful effects of sugar, Alkali in Putney are delighted to help.

Sugar is enemy number one, as far as the entire dental profession is concerned. But, unsurprisingly, the Food and Drink Federation are more concerned the arbitrary new tax recommended by the Health Committee, and recently debated in Westminster, would leave consumers paying significantly more, every week, for the products they love.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the Health Committee, is challenging the sugar lobby. Her committee’s report has called for labelling of the added sugar content in teaspoons and a tax on soft drinks to change the habits of a nation. The committee also wants “bold and urgent action” to reduce sugar in food and drink and to restrict marketing and advertising of unhealthy products.

It is a hard nut to crack. Influences from advertising and marketing overwhelm adults as well as children because they’ve been brought up in a similar way to the children, in using sugar as a reward, using sugar as a quick fix.

Only the totally uneducated would consider putting a whole cup of sugar in their child’s lunchbox, but they add a can of a popular fizzy drink which contains 20 teaspoons of sugar, one cup, without a second thought. Try adding this amount of sugar to your next cup of coffee and we are certain you would not drink it! Sugar-laden drinks are particularly bad for the teeth as, due to the way we sip them, they stay high in the palate and have a greater chance of causing tooth decay. Schools may be making money by having soft drink vending machines but the damage to children’s health  cannot be ignored

Although it was recently debated by Mark Field, MP, in  Westminster, “We are living in an age of more responsible and more informed consumers, both young and old. That is where the responsibility lies, and that responsibility has been put into place to a large extent, ”  there is little evidence sensible parents are winning out over the uninformed and poorer members of society.

As Helen Jones, Chair of the Petitions Committee replied, “Our risk of serious diseases is increasing.” We are much more at risk than we used to be of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Serious diseases are not the only problem. “The biggest cause of childhood admissions to hospital is dental decay. If we talk to people who operate on those children, we hear horrific stories of young children having all their teeth removed because of decay.”

Join the debate and change attitudes to excess sugar.  With, or without, a sugar tax we need to save a nation by saying no to pop.  It is not only children who like sugar.  Adults grow up with a sweet tooth too.

Make an appointment at Alkali Dental Studios in Putney to have your teeth checked before you pay the price of decay for your sweet tooth and sugar cravings.

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