A quarter of five-year-olds suffer from tooth decay

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By Lidia Trifonova

A quarter of five-year-olds have tooth decay according to newly released data from Public Health England (PHE).

Despite a decline in the number of children who suffer from tooth decay, almost 25% start school with the condition, which is preventable.

This data comes in a few months after Chancellor George Osborne revealed the sugar tax as part of the Budget.

The sugar tax will cover the soft drinks industry, excluding fruit and milk-based drinks, and will be implemented in two years’ time.

The idea is that the levy targets the manufacturers, not the consumers, however there is nothing to stop companies from simply raising the prices of their products to cover the levy, instead of lowering the sugar amounts in their beverages.

Dr Stuart Flint, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, who specialises in psychosocial effects of obesity, said: “Whilst there has been an increased effort to inform the public about the dangers of sugar, it has primarily been related to excess weight and whilst this is true, there are many other effects of overconsuming too much sugar. Children are at an increased risk given the marketing strategies of many food and drink companies whose products have high levels of sugar including sugary drinks and cereal.”

“A sugar tax has the potential to be very effective in improving people’s overall health and well-being. High consumption of sugar is linked to ill health including diabetes and obesity. Reducing sugar intake lowers the risk of ill health.”

We asked University of Sheffield students if they think the sugar tax will help reduce the percentage of children, who have tooth decay.

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