Half of all 12-year-olds and three in four 15-year-olds in Ireland have some decay in their permanent teeth, according to the Irish Dental Association (IDA).
The association was responding to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) call for people to reduce their consumption of sugar. Earlier this week, the WHO said that the daily allowance for sugar intake per person should be halved to six teaspoons per day, to help reduce health problems such as tooth decay and obesity.
According to IDA president, Dr Sean Malone, this should act as a wake-up call to young people and their parents: “There is overwhelming evidence that sugars in food and beverages are the main dietary cause of tooth decay and erosion in children and adults.
“In addition to dental decay, people who consume excess sugar suffer higher rates of heart disease and diabetes.”
The IDA believes that all carbonated soft drinks should carry public health warnings. It also wants to see the introduction of legislation that would ensure that the sugar content of all foods and drinks is highlighted.