Dentists slam lack of progress in ‘war on sugar’

19 October 2020
1 min read

The British Dental Association has urged ministers to turn the page on voluntary action with the food industry, as a new report from Public Health England indicates minimal progress to reduce sugar levels in food, with many food categories showing “little or no reduction".

Data from the government’s flagship sugar reduction programme shows the food industry has cut barely three per cent of sugar from products bought in shops and supermarkets over the last four years. 

Dentists have pointed to the success of mandatory action through the sugar levy, which has seen a 44 per cent fall in the sugar levels in soft drinks since 2015, with many companies taking out sugar to avoid exposure to the tax.

Tooth decay remains the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children, and oral health inequalities are expected to widen further, driven by unprecedented access problems, the suspension of public health programmes, and sugar-laden lockdown diets.  

BDA chair Eddie Crouch said, "Britain is losing the war on sugar because ministers remain unwilling to really put up a fight.  

"Voluntary action from industry on reformulation is making next to no headway. We need a real sense of urgency, wedded to mandatory targets.  

"Covid needs to focus minds on the need for sustained action on preventable diseases like tooth decay and obesity. Hard-won gains will only slip into reverse as lockdown diets take their toll."

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