How will the ‘Sugar Tax’ improve our children’s health?

It is no secret that a diet high in refined sugars is particularly bad for our health. What is fresh news on this subject is the newly announced ‘Sugar Tax’ in George Osbourne’s 2016 Budget Speech on Wednesday 16th March 2016.

The most prominent health risk as a result of a high intake of sugar is, of course, childhood obesity. Statistics show that in 2012 1 in 3 children were overweight or obese. To put that into perspective, an average family with three children would include at least one obese child.

The immediate and longer term effects of childhood obesity are enough to make you stop and think. Surely something drastic needs to be done. Of course the threat of cardiovascular disease among our children is enough for us to back the ‘Sugar Tax’, right?

But what a lot of Mums and Dads across the country should also be aware of are the benefits that implementing this tax can have on overall dental hygiene.

So how exactly can sugar cause so much damage to our children’s teeth? We’re all aware of the dreaded words: cavities and decay. Filling our kids up on not only an abundance of additives, but also scary amounts of sugar is causing the existing bacteria that live in our mouths to feed on these sugars. This results in a harsh acid that wears away the protective enamel on our teeth.

It is our duty as parents to instil a culture of oral hygiene into our children from a young age. While the implementing of the Sugar Tax should help to prevent children and parents from buying these sugary drinks and junk food, it is also vital that our children are educated on the health problems and damaging effects of excessive intake of refined sugars.

You may all have seen the quite frankly scary visual aid which has been on our social media channels recently – the board with drinks bottles attached and then the amount of sugar contained within those drinks displayed, I for one found that a great help to understanding just what is going into my children’s bodies.  I thought it was a healthier option for them to have bottles of milk shake as opposed to a fruit shoot or sharing a coke with me, but actually there is a huge amount of sugar in those milkshakes – more than a can of coke or red bull!

Until the Sugar Tax comes fully into effect, in the meantime we can concentrate on achieving a culture of dental hygiene and care amongst our families to improve dental health.

Start by cutting down your household’s intake of sugar, maintaining a regular brushing and flossing routine and even chewing sugar free gum in between meals in order to protect your children’s smiles.

Will the introduction of the ‘Sugar Tax’ encourage you to think more closely about what your children are eating and drinking? I personally don’t think we will be changing anything here although perhaps less bottles drinks could be consumed and replaced with diluted squash, water and milk.

Emmy recently had a talk in school on this topic where they were told of the hidden sugars in their foods and about the risks of consuming too much sugar – i think this has had a very positive effect on her as she now asks if a drink or food has a lot of sugar in it, now I don’t think this should be a main concern for her at aged 6 but it is a positive step in educating our children. She now pays more attention to her dental health and instead of refusing and being forced to brush her teeth – she now asks to, which is a miracle if I am honest.

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