The WFPHA supports the Global Child Dental Fund (GCDF) resolution calling for 20% of the revenues generated through a taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) to be allocated to oral health promotion programs.
Currently, 28 countries have introduced a sugar tax on food and drinks. The revenues generated from this sugar tax have been invested in efforts to reduce and prevent obesity and type II diabetes, such as the development of physical education and healthy eating programs in schools with less or no focus going towards oral health promotion and prevention.
Nearly half of the world’s population (48%) is affected by oral diseases and has suffered disabilities from oral diseases. 2.5 billion people have dental carries on permanent teeth, including in developed countries. Sugar is the primary factor responsible for the development of tooth decay. In the “Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs)”, the WHO has clearly highlighted the negative impact of SSBs on obesity, diabetes, AND tooth decay. Twhy, then are resources only being allocated to obesity and diabetes prevention, and not towards promoting oral health as well?
While oral health is an integral part of overall health, well-being and quality of life, it has traditionally been compartmentalized in healthcare and segregated from public health systems. Thus, oral diseases have become a neglected epidemic. The WFPHA calls for oral health to be integrated into overall health policies using cross-sector and holistic approaches for health promotion and led by good governance, in accordance with the Global Charter for the Public’s Health. We need to educate the public about the detrimental effect of sugar on teeth and the importance of affordable fluoridated toothpaste.