The British Dental Association has welcomed reports that Health Secretary Matt Hancock is moving to ban sales of energy drinks to under-16s. The drinks, which contain a concoction of acids and sugars, have helped fuel an epidemic or decay and erosion.
Even though a number of brands reformulated in advance of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, several brands including sector leaders Monster still contain up to 14 tsp of sugar in a single serving – more than twice the recommended daily allowance for younger children.
Forty-six per cent of 15-year-olds had obvious experience of tooth decay in the last national survey. The acidity of these drinks is also a major contributor to dental erosion, which affects up to 44% of children aged 15. And the caffeine content in energy drinks exacerbates oral health problems by inhibiting saliva flow.
The BDA expressed its support to the Science and Technology Committee, which has argued concerns in society, and evidence from teachers, could "justify a ban."
Products are currently required to carry a warning label that they are "not suitable for children". The BDA believes that energy drinks should not be available for children to buy.
BDA chair Mick Armstrong said: "Anyone who values prevention or children’s health will welcome this move.
"Dentists see the devastating impact energy drinks are having on children's oral health every day.
"It is bizarre we are still having this debate over products that are habit forming, highly acidic and can come laced with 14 teaspoons of sugar – far more than a can of coke.
"If the government is even half serious about prevention they will take them off the menu."