Irish dental group wants warning labels on soda

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) is calling on health officials to require public health warning labels on carbonated soft drinks.

In a statement to mark World Diabetes Day (November 14), the IDA warned that a diet high in sugary, energy-dense foods has serious implications not just for oral health but also for chronic health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Half of all Irish 12-year-olds and three-quarters of all 15-year-olds have some decay in their permanent teeth, noted Conor McAlister, BDS, president of the IDA.

"In Ireland, we have one of the highest per capita soft drinks consumption in the Western world, at over 100 liters per capita per annum, an average of at least one 330 mL can per day," he stated in a press release.

The IDA believes the minister for health should ensure public health warning labels are carried on all carbonated soft drinks and introduce legislation that would stipulate that the sugar content of food and drinks is highlighted.

"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," Dr. McAlister said. "Studies show it is children from more deprived backgrounds who have a higher risk of decay, and unfortunately these are the very people who have been hardest hit by cutbacks in the public dental service."

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