A sweet tooth can be taxing

May 31, 2018, University of Queensland
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A tax on sweetened drinks would save $666 million in oral health costs over a decade, a study by The University of Queensland has found.

Led by Dr. Marcin Sowa of UQ's Centre for Business and Economics of Health, the study is the first to explore the effects of a sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) tax on in Australia.

"Findings suggest that a 20 per cent SSB tax would lead to a reduction in decayed, missing and filled teeth by 3.9 million units over 10 years," Dr. Sowa said.

UQ's School of Dentistry researcher Associate Professor Ratilal Lalloo said that despite a well-established link between frequent consumption of and tooth decay, little was known about the implications of an SSB tax in the context of oral .

"We designed an economic model that accounted for the consumer response to price increase, the effect on oral health due to changes in sugar intake and subsequent changes in uptake of dental care services," Associate Professor Lalloo said.

"Our results indicate that the total and per person impact would be considerable both in avoiding tooth decay and reducing the need for ."

Head of UQ's School of Dentistry Professor Pauline Ford said that although sugar taxes had attracted media attention over recent years, the focus was almost always on obesity.

"Our study argues that frequent consumption of beverages such as soft drinks, , flavoured water and fruit drinks is of significant concern for oral health in Australia and has been overlooked for too long," Professor Ford said.

"This study provides a basis for real debate, demonstrating that a sugar tax may help ensure our already overstretched oral health services are not fixing problems that we know have upstream solutions."

Globally, about 30 countries have implemented a SSB tax in an effort to address .

This study was published in the European Journal of Public Health.

Explore further: Health labels may deter people from buying sugary drinks

More information: P Marcin Sowa et al. The impact of a sugar-sweetened beverages tax on oral health and costs of dental care in Australia, European Journal of Public Health (2018). DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/cky087

Related Stories

Health labels may deter people from buying sugary drinks

May 25, 2018
Young adults are less likely to buy sugar-sweetened beverages that include health labels, particularly those with graphic warnings about how added sugar can lead to tooth decay, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Social deprivation sits at the heart of children's oral decay

September 8, 2017
A study of 347 children in Plymouth aged between four and six years has shown that social deprivation is an indicator of increased risk of dental decay in children. However, obesity was not associated with decay in this group ...

Sweet drinks need tooth decay warning

January 30, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers from the University of Adelaide say any health warnings about soft drinks should include the risk of tooth decay, following a new study that looks at the consumption of sweet drinks and fluoridated ...

Sugar-free drinks and lollies are bad news for teeth say dentists

November 26, 2015
Scientists at the University of Melbourne's Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre have warned about the damage sugar-free drinks can do to tooth enamel.

Associations between longitudinal beverage intakes and adolescent caries

March 25, 2018
At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Teresa A. Marshall, University of ...

Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages increase stigma for low-income groups, Aboriginal peoples

March 19, 2018
When considering taxing sugar-sweetened beverages in Canada, policy-makers should look at lessons learned from tobacco taxation, especially how taxation could increase inequalities and stigma, argues an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian ...

Recommended for you

Medicaid work requirements and health savings accounts may impact people's coverage

June 20, 2018
Current experimental approaches in Medicaid programs—including requirements to pay premiums, contribute to health savings accounts, or to work—may lead to unintended consequences for patient coverage and access, such ...

What a pain: The iPad neck plagues women more

June 20, 2018
Is your iPad being a literal pain in the neck?

Introduction of alcohol found to adversely impact fertility rates in hunter-gatherer community

June 19, 2018
Fernando Ramirez Rozzi, a research director with the French National Centre for Scientific Research has found that the introduction of alcohol to a Baka pygmy hunter-gatherer society caused fertility rates to fall. In his ...

Living the high life: How altitude influences bone growth

June 19, 2018
High altitude is a particularly challenging environment—the terrain is physically challenging and the land has a relatively poor crop yield, so food can be sparse. Most importantly, oxygen levels are lower meaning that ...

Risks of cancer and mortality by average lifetime alcohol intake

June 19, 2018
The risk of mortality, and of developing a number of cancers, is lowest in light drinkers consuming an average of less than one drink per day across their lifetime, and the risk of some cancers increases with each additional ...

Bad habits that lead to cancer, chronic disease corrected by simple lifestyle intervention

June 19, 2018
Does this sound like someone you know? He or she spends too much time in front of screens, gets little exercise and eats a diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.