Energy drinks are helping to create a crisis in children’s tooth decay, according to the British Dental Association (BDA).
The Daily Mirror, MPs, teachers, celebrity campaigners including Jamie Oliver and now the BDA are calling for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under-16s.
The campaign is urging the Government to ‘make sugar the new tobacco’.
‘They are habit forming, highly acidic and can come laced with 20 teaspoons of sugar – far more than a can of coke,’ BDA chairman, Mick Armstrong, said.
‘Tooth decay remains the number one reason for hospital admissions among children and young people.
‘Ministers like to talk about prevention.
‘They can prove it by calling time on the sale of energy drinks to kids.’
Energy drinks ‘akin to drugs’
The Daily Mirror campaign focuses on the detrimental effect energy drinks have on children’s oral health, weight and concentration in schools.
Since launching the campaign, many retailers have started asking customers for ID before buying energy drinks, but this is a voluntary scheme.
Many energy drinks contain 160mg of caffeine per 500ml – a 10-year-old shouldn’t consume more than 99mg per day.
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‘We have to do this,’ Jamie Oliver told the Daily Mirror.
‘Because these drinks are turning our kids into addicts.
‘Their use is, to my mind, akin to drugs.
‘You’ve got kids doing the secret buying and paying for them, then there’s how they hide it when they get a low, how they take it again at lunch to get up again, drinking it before bed so they have broken sleep.
‘Then they’re like a bag of s**t in the morning, and they have another one then to get them up again.’
The BDA is continuing to pressure Ministers to devote more energy to reducing oral health inequalities, focusing on prevention and a joined-up oral health strategy.