Sugar tax not a ‘quick fix’ for child tooth decay, say dentists

Irish Dental Association has yet to decide whether to back sugar tax

A sugar tax will not provide "a miraculous quick fix" for high levels of tooth decay among Irish children, the Irish Dental Association has said.

The association is yet to decide whether to back a sugar tax, which enjoys widespread support from political and other health groups. It says no studies of note have been carried out on the impact of the tax.

“In the absence of such studies, the IDA plans to publish a paper on this topic in the coming months before making an informed decision,” it said.

Half of all Irish 12-year-olds and 75 per cent of all 15-year-olds have some decay in their permanent teeth.

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The association, which is holding its annual conference in Galway, says every dentist is in favour of limiting the intake of sugars, but this requires a multifaceted approach.

Outgoing president Anne Twomey said the focus should be on encouraging people to reduce the frequency and volume of high sugar content drinks and food they consume, not on how much they are paying for these products.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times