In a landmark report the British Medical Association will urge Downing Street to take on the food industry. It found that poor diet costs the NHS £6billion a year while claiming 70,000 lives.
The BMA’s proposed levy on fizzy drinks and sugar-laden juices would help subsidise the sale of fruit and vegetables.
Nigel Hunt, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ dental faculty, said a, “frightening” number of children had had decayed teeth removed. “We are reaching crisis point in terms of the number of children needing to go into the dental hospitals for full-blown general anaesthetics for extraction,” said the professor.
“Almost 26,000 general anaesthetics are being given to five- to nine-year-old children every year to have teeth out. We are talking frightening figures and the services just can’t cope. At many centres, children are having to wait six months to have a general anaesthetic and there is one, in fact, that is over a year.”
Hospitals are reportedly running extra clinics at evenings and weekends to deal with the 46,500 children admitted each year to have teeth removed under general anaesthetic after they are destroyed by sugar.
The Department of Health said: ‘Children’s teeth are healthier than they were ten years ago but it still needs to improve. NHS dentistry is free for children and we strongly recommend parents take children for regular check-ups.’
Celebrity chef and food campaigner Jamie Oliver is looking to lobby the government to raise a, “sugar tax.” He is throwing his weight behind the calls for a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks in the UK. “Sugar needs to go on the naughty step,” he says.
Here is a video of Jamie Oliver speaking to Evan Davis about, “should there be a sugar tax on soft drinks? Would this reduce childhood obesity?
Oliver believes that the great British public will get behind him, though, and persuade the government that we need the tax – which would be invested in health and schools. Nevermind that the government stated categorically this summer, when its own advisory committee recommended we halve our sugar intake, that it would not introduce a sugar tax. Oliver thinks David Cameron could yet do a U-turn. “I believe it is possible,” he said. “It is all up for grabs.”
Our advice is to limit your consumption of sugary drinks especially in children. As an alternative still water and milk are good choices. It is better for your teeth if you drink fruit juices just at meal times. If you are drinking them between meals, try diluting them with water.
Diluted sugar-free fruit drinks are the safest alternative to water and milk. If you make these, be sure that the drink is diluted 1 part fruit drink to 10 parts water. Some soft drinks contain sweeteners, which are not suitable for young children.
Fizzy drinks can increase the risk of dental problems. The sugar can cause decay and the acid in both normal and diet drinks can dissolve the enamel on the teeth. The risk is higher when you have these drinks between meals.
Alongside this make sure you brush your teeth last thing at night and once throughout the day with a fluoride toothpaste.