Thoughts On The Sugar Tax

The team at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice offer their perspective on this new tax.

Although other events have now taken over from the ‘sugar tax’ headline of the recent budget, it is still a topic relevant to the health of the nation and should, overall, be seen as a positive thing. Indeed, many health experts have taken its forthcoming introduction as a signal to encourage targeting of high sugar levels in savoury foods as well.

There is a general consensus in the medical and dental professions that high levels of sugars in drinks is one of the leading causes of both obesity and dental decay, especially in the younger generation. However, does this new tax go as far as it could, or should, do?


First of all, the tax does not come into force for two years. This presumably is to allow the food and drinks industry time to adapt (or even mount a legal challenge as some have suggested). It also has to pass through parliament, although little opposition to the tax is likely to be shown. Perhaps more of a concern to this Burton family dental practice is what the act actually covers, or, more to the point, what it doesn’t.


Whilst the sugar tax hits the, perhaps easy, target of carbonated drinks, this is only a part of the problem. Aside from the pleasure factor, few could argue that there is any benefit from drinks such as colas and lemonades etc, and, for this reason, a sugar tax on these products makes sense. Where the waters become cloudier though, is when we get to milk or fruit based drinks. Both of these could be said to have some nutritional benefits, yet, in many cases, these drinks contain even higher levels of sugar than a carbonated drink and yet are exempt from the tax as it is currently proposed.

The likelihood is that where price becomes an issue on any drinks, following the introduction of the tax, parents could switch to a milk or fruit drink which is potentially higher in sugar, in the belief that it will be good for their children’s teeth. So there are definitely other underlying issues here.

Best drink

Our Burton family dentists believe that children should only be given drinks with elevated sugar content very infrequently. Water is the best drink for healthy hydration; helps to keep the mouth moist and minimises the presence of the ‘bad’ bacteria in the mouth that can contribute to gum disease. Naturally, as parents, we are likely to give in to our children from time to time and there is little harm in a sugary drink given very occasionally. If we do though, we should also take responsibility to ensure that our children clean their teeth properly, even to the point of supervising them until they are old enough to understand the importance of good oral health care.

Encouraging your children to visit a family dentist early on is an excellent way to start them on the course of maintaining healthy teeth throughout their lives.

If you live in the Burton area, why not pop along or make a call to Mike Allen’s Dental Practice to arrange an appointment for any of the members of your family? Please call us today on 01283 845345.