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News / May 14, 2010

Dentists appeal for fizzy drinks health warning

by Guy Hiscott

Public health warning labels are needed on fizzy drinks to increase awareness of their negative impact on oral and general health, say dentists in Ireland.

The motion was proposed at the Irish Dental Association’s annual conference, which is currently running in Galway.

Dentists suggest the Minister for Health and Children should introduce a health warning similar to that found on tobacco products.

In a related motion, dentists have called on the Minister to introduce legislation that would require the sugar content of food and drinks to be highlighted.

Dr Billy Davis, the new president of the IDA, said: ‘We really need to move urgently on this issue. In Ireland we have one of the highest per capita soft drinks consumption in the western world at over 100 litres per capita per annum, an average of at least one 330ml can per day. This consumption has risen year on year since the 1980s. There are also increased general health risks, with people who consume excess sugar suffering higher rates of heart disease and diabetes.

‘The health warning system has really worked well for tobacco and alcohol products and it is time for similar warnings to be placed on food and drink products so that consumers can make a fully informed choice.’

Statistics show that three-quarters Irish children have experienced tooth decay by the time they reach the age of 15.