Tax cash should fund oral health programmes
The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has again called for any monies raised through the impending “sugar tax” to go towards oral health programmes.
The call came as Minister for Finance Michael Noonan was reported to have said that he was opposed to the principle of ring-fencing tax revenue as it limits the flexibility of government to allocate funds.
A sugar tax is widely expected to be introduced next April, coinciding with the UK’s introduction of a similar tax. The IDA argue that the negative effects of the overconsumption of sugary soft drinks allied with the cutbacks to the dental state schemes means that a proportion of any tax revenue should be allocated to help improve oral health.
IDA chief executive Fintan Hourihan expressed the association’s disappointment at the decision and called on the minister to reconsider.
He said: “Dental decay is the most common chronic disease young children experience in Ireland today. This is due, in the main, to very high levels of sugar consumption, including soft drinks. The direct link between sugar intake and dental decay has been clearly established so it makes sense that a significant proportion of the monies raised through a sugar tax should be used for oral health promotion.”