Dental organizations, such as the British Dental Association, have been canvasing to reduce the sugar in the diet as a way of reducing childhood tooth decay. Some of this lobbying has led to taxing sweetened beverages (pop).

Is this a sensible and effective strategy?

Have a quick read of this new study of the dynamic which causes kids to eat junk food. It argues limited family income (poverty) is the key catalyst that sets the stage for various risk factors for healthy living: family strain and dysfunction, offspring insecurity, stress, emotional turmoil, low self-esteem, and poor mental health. In turn, these risk factors give rise to “calorie-dense junk food self-medication and subtle addiction” to alleviate daily turmoil and uncertainty.

In short, obesity and for that matter, poor oral health (cavities) result from economic disparities. 

Indeed, a new review on oral health disparities in American adults supports this argument. Poorer folks have poorer oral health. In our clinical trials with Prevora, we have also seen these disparities by income. Inner city, uninsured adults in Boston had 7 x the increment of cavities over one year, than middle income folks in Boston’s suburbs.

So the tax on pop is really a tax on the poor.  Is this really what organized dentistry should be advocating?

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