The BDA is campaigning for a ban on energy drinks for under 16-year olds. They highlight that energy drinks can contain 20 teaspoons of sugar – over twice the recommended daily allowance for adults and over three times the amount for children.
Major retailers such as Asda, Boots, and Sainsbury’s have already introduced a voluntary ban earlier this year, however this doesn’t stop children from being able to purchase the drinks from smaller stores and independent retailers.
The campaign comes after it was revealed that 170 children and teenagers are having to undergo dental operations every day in the UK to remove rotten teeth caused by sugar consumption, according to NHS statistics.
This, combined with rising numbers in childhood obesity, has influenced the introduction of a sugar tax, a new tax that is targeting drinks manufacturers with a varying levy depending on the total sugar content of each beverage.
Dentists in Ireland are calling for the funds from the sugar tax to be spent on educating people on dental care to prevent oral health problems, a proposal that the Oral Health Foundation is supporting.
The new tax came into effect in April and hopes to tackle children’s sugar consumption as companies are pressured to either reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks, or the size of the drinks.
In Barnsley, the council have gone one step further and placed a ban on any sugary drinks being sold in their buildings in the hopes of creating a “sugar-free” town. However, the ban of all sugary drinks nation-wide seems a little far-fetched, at least for the time being. As energy drinks contain such a high amount of sugar, enforcing the BDA’s suggested ban instead may be the best thing for protecting children’s teeth.