Dentists have suggested a radical new tax to close the huge funding gap in the NHS dental budget.
The British Dental Association (BDA) this month warned that practitioners were under increasing pressure, with demand for dental treatment far outweighing the health service’s ability to deliver.
With this in mind, the BDA believes that food high in sugar – a leading cause of tooth decay –should be taxed. The money would then be reinvested into surgeries.
Henrik Overgaard Nielsen, who chairs the General Dental Practice Committee, said: “Dentistry seems to be the poor relation when it comes to the amount invested in treating current levels of disease, never mind the prevention.
“The widespread availability of cheap sugary food and drinks is expanding the nation’s waistline and rotting our teeth. We need a sugar tax to increase capacity.”
The call for urgent action follows a NHS survey last year, which found that one in eight of the nation’s three-year-olds had tooth decay.
In addition, the decay is the number one cause of hospital admissions among children; in one year, 46,500 under 19s were admitted to have teeth removed under general anaesthetic.
Despite this ministers have refused to increase tax on sugary food and following the latest comments from the BDA, the Government suggested that it wasn’t prepared to revisit the issue.