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Political events of late may well have an impact on plans to introduce a tax on excessively sugary drinks as negotiations between Jamie Oliver and David Cameron have presumably come to an end. We shall see in the light of Parliamentary upheaval, Brexit and its accompanying budgetary consequences, whether the proposed restrictions on food and drink manufacturers will be implemented.

It’s about time the government was dragged kicking and screaming to the table to talk about the profits of the food industry giants. We hope that Jamie amongst others will continue to campaign for better protection for our children’s health. We like that he is prepared to put his head above the parapet and suffer the indignity of dealing with politicians. We agree that there should be sugar tax. We agree that there are obscene amounts of sugar in our diet leading to obesity and diabetes. What we would like though is a bit more attention given to the effects on our teeth and our children’s teeth. Tooth decay is entirely preventable and not something you can ignore.

The main reason for English children of primary school age being admitted to hospital is multiple tooth extraction

We have children who require all 20 of their baby teeth to be extracted. It beggars belief that their diets could produce such a drastic effect,” Dr Kathryn Harley, former Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, told the Sunday Times.

This is why we bang on about sugar in our diet, this is why for the last 2 years we have done our own research into what is in our breakfast, packed lunch and baby food and presented it to our patients here in the practice and to our roadshow audiences.

This was headline news in March and many column inches were given to discussing the harm to our health from excessive sugar and the influence of the sugar corporations, but it will be a struggle to get the co operation of government to legislate for a sugar tax or demand honesty in labelling despite the developments for a sugar tax announcement in the last budget. It will take the constant lobbying of parliament to ensure this actually happens and that it is only the beginning of the measures we need to protect our families from the enormous profiteering of the sugar industry.

And for this we take our collective dental hats off to you Jamie for doing your bit.

You can read more about Jamie’s campaign, recipes and how to make a difference at



Why should I bother and what difference would it make?

Our aim is to help you understand how the amount of sugar in our diet can be so much more than we realise. We want to help you make a choice about what sugar you consume in order to reduce the risk of tooth decay and promote healthy eating.

We are worried by the dishonesty and misinformation in food and drink labelling with particular interest in sugar content.

We have been examining how the food industry add sugar to processed food and drink. You will no doubt have read about this online, in newspaper articles and on TV. It’s big news! We feel we have to add our voice to this campaign against the unnecessary addition of sugar to our food, and to work towards a reduction in our daily intake. Whilst many of these articles remind us of the effects of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, we have noticed they fail to mention that which concerns us on a daily basis – tooth decay. The most prevalent and preventable disease. This is the only disease the sugar manufactures to admit to having a direct causal effect on.

Action on Sugar ( is a group of specialists concerned with sugar and it’s effects on health. It is supported by 21 expert advisors to bring about reduction in sugar in processed foods, yet has only one dental advisor – Professor Aubrey Sheilbrum – Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Heatlh.

Many of our patients seem geniunely puzzled by their high rates of dental decay when they consider they have a healthy diet and do not add sugar to the food they cook at home. We aim to highlight the inequality between us (the consumers) and them (the food industry giants).

Food labels can be difficult to read, so to help you negotiate the supermarket and food labelling tricks, we recommend a new free app for your smartphones called FOODSWITCH. This will show you in a clear, traffic light system the content of food items with a barcode.

Every month, we will focus on a food or drink type and illustrate how easy it is to consume far more sugar than we imagine. With this mind, we look at a typical breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks and children’s lunchboxes.

Present guidelines – max daily allowance 90g daily = 30 cubes

Recommended new guidelines – max daily allowance 50g = 16.5 cubes

WHO (World Health Organisation) recommend a further reduction to 25g daily

1 sugar cube = 3g

oneWe have found that many prepared and packaged meals and desserts made for babies and infants contained naturally sweet tasting ingrediants and we have featured some of those in our photographs.

Whilst there are valuable nutrients and minerals in sweet potato, peppers, squash, bananas and apricots for example, the convenience meals do taste sweet. This can reinforce a preference for sweet foods generally make it more difficult to encourage a taste for more savoury choices.

Ready-made meals for infants as well as adults contain a higher sugar content than home-made alternatives. We recommend ready-made meals only be used infrequently, on occasions when preparing fresh meals can be difficult when travelling or on holiday.

twoWe compared similar products from different manufacturers to contrast the sugar content. Choosing an alternative can make a big difference in reducing sugar.
Reduced sugar rusks still contain a surprising sugar content, as always we advise reading labels carefully.

Offering infants too many sweet flavoured foods may lead them to developing a sweet preference and may ‘pattern’ their eating habits later in the toddler years for sugar and fat intake.
There is no nutritional need to feed juice to infants younger than 6 months. Offering juice before solid foods are introduced could risk juice replacing breast or infant formula in the diet, reducing intake of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.
Teeth can begin to erupt at approximately six months of age. Dental caries has been associated with juice consumption, and, as it can be placed in a feeder cup or bottle, it can be consumed over a prolonged period of time, exposing the teeth to the sugar in juice, which is a major contributing factor in tooth decay.

threeRefined sugars should be avoided and juice should be restricted. Give only a very dilute mix of juice and water (1 part juice to 10 parts cooled boiler water) in a feeding cup at mealtimes only.
Action on Sugar have released data from the most recent official national diet and nutrition survey which showed adults and children in England exceeded the current guidelines limit for sugary consumption with children consuming around 15% of their calories in sugar, and a third of those come from soft drinks and fruit juices. WHO (World Health Organisation) have set current guidelines at 10% with a recommendation to reduce it 5%.

Professor Graham MacGregor stated, ‘added sugars are completely unnecessary in our diets and ares strongly linked to obesity and diabetes, as well as dental caries which remains a major problem for children and adults.’