Irish Dentists: Sugar Tax “Not a Silver Bullet”

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has warned that the introduction of a sugar tax “will not provide a miraculous quick-fix solution” to high levels of tooth decay among children.

The IDA issued the warning at its annual conference. It stressed that achieving a reduction in levels of tooth decay requires a multifaceted approach.

The IDA said it would support public health warning labels being carried on all carbonated soft drinks, along with the introduction of a legislation that would require the sugar content of all foods and drinks to be highlighted. It added that if a sugar tax were introduced, the revenue should go towards oral health care programmes.

The IDA also cautioned that companies may simply increase the prices of other products in their range to compensate for the tax.

The IDA’s outgoing President, Anne Twomey, said: “Have any studies been carried out to test the effectiveness of sugar taxes where they have been introduced? What about the 60 per cent of the population here who do not consume sugar-sweetened beverages? As well as fizzy drinks, would the tax also cover fruit juices? What happens if consumers switch to alternative untaxed sugary drinks? What about the disproportionate effect such a tax will have on lower income households?”

“These are important questions and we haven’t really heard convincing answers to any of them.” –Jason Gorringe,, London