Like many countries, Ireland has been trying to deal with a high level of tooth decay among children and experts have warned that simply adding a sugar tax to drinks and snacks is not simply going to improve the numbers overnight. The Irish Dental Association has said that this is not a ‘miraculous quick fix’ to the problem or rising levels of decay among children.
The idea of a sugar tax has received widespread backing but the IDA has voiced doubt about the suggestion, given that there are no serious studies supporting it. In a statement, the IDA said that it would be publishing a paper about the topic ‘before making an informed decision’ about whether to lend its support to the sugar tax in Ireland.
At the moment, half of all twelve-year-olds in the country and three quarters of 15-year-olds have some level of decay in their permanent teeth; a sugar tax would hopefully drive down these numbers as children have limited access to sugary drinks and snacks that cause cavities and other health problems, such as obesity and diabetes. Although many health groups support the tax, others insist that the focus should be on encouraging people to reduce their intake of unhealthy products, rather than changing how much they are paying for them.