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‘Sticks not carrots’ needed to tackle tooth decay in children

20 Sep 2019

Following the publication of Public Health England’s “Sugar reduction: report on progress between 2015 and 2018” Professor Michael Escudier, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, said:


“We welcome publication of Public Health England’s progress report today, which gives us a clear picture of which sugar reduction policies are working, and where more needs to be done.


“We all try to get the balance right between the ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ approach, but we see today it’s the sticks that are working. The soft drinks industry levy has been successful, with sugar content in fizzy drinks reduced by an average of 28.8%. Meanwhile progress has been limited for the products covered by the voluntary sugar reduction programme.


“The evidence supports our recent position statement on children’s oral health, in which we call for the Government to consider extending the soft drinks levy to cover sugary dairy drinks. Reducing children’s sugar intake is vital to tackling child tooth decay.  Statistics published yesterday show tooth decay remains the leading cause of hospital admissions for 5 to 9 year olds, despite being almost entirely preventable.”

Notes to editors

  1. Sugar reduction: report on progress between 2015 and 2018:

  2. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling dentists and specialists to provide patients with the highest possible standards of practice and care.

  3. Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care. For more information, please contact the Press Office:

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