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News / March 7, 2014

Tooth decay surge among Irish teens

by Guy Hiscott

Three in four Irish teenagers have tooth decay, according to the Irish Dental Association (IDA).

This equates to half of all 12-year-olds and three in four 15-year-olds.

Figures from the Department of Health show 37% of Irish children consume sweets once a day or more, while 21% report drinking soft drinks daily or more.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently called upon people to reduce their daily sugar intake by half, down to six teaspoons a day.

Dr Sean Malone, president of IDA, says: ‘Irish children are among the highest per capita consumers of soft drinks in the Western world, so this issue needs to be addressed urgently.’

Dr Malone adds that all fizzy drinks should carry public health warnings.

‘In addition to dental decay, people who consume excess sugar suffer higher rates of heart disease and diabetes,’ says Dr Malone.

The study was carried out as a response to WHO’s recent figures on sugar intake.

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