Sickly Sweet

Open Letter to the Dental Industry


Letter to the Dental Industry

I recently spent two days at the Dentistry show at the NEC in Birmingham and was shocked to see so much sugar being promoted by various companies.

There was a constant stream of dental professionals walking through hall 5 consuming chocolates, sweets, smoothies, tea cakes, sugary popcorn and candy floss which were available on many stands throughout the show.

Having spent the last few years researching, writing, and speaking about the topic of sugar, please let me explain my concern. I am sure you are aware of the shocking statistics for the thousands of children who have teeth extracted every year under general anaesthetic but maybe not the related systemic diseases? Eight per cent of the UK population suffer diagnosed diabetes and by 2035 it is projected to cost the NHS £15 billion per year. Twenty-eight per cent of the UK adult population and twenty per cent of UK’s children are obese. Both diabetes and obesity, as well as being life threatening, are directly related to dental disease.

In UK we are consuming more and more sugar each year as disease rates continue to rise. The sugar industry is very good at confusing the public and generating more and more different names for sugar, making it easier to conceal within processed and ultra-processed foods. This is why we need the dental industry on our side, so we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

In my own published research, I discovered many dental professionals are addicted to sugar and are struggling to quit. There are many reasons for this. One of the reasons is the marketing and promotion of sugar. It is everywhere and difficult to avoid.

I am asking the industry to stop and reflect. I would hope that the companies promoting sugar would re-consider this approach at future events and maybe, instead help promote healthy options or even dental charities that are struggling to combat sugar related diseases.

Yours sincerely

Timothy Ives

Here is a link to the published letter on page 13 of Dentistry Magazine