We are pleased to see the Government has decided to introduce a 9pm TV watershed and a restriction on paid-for advertising online for junk foods from 2023. We have long campaigned for radical action to lower people's sugar intake to help prevent tooth decay, including action on TV advertising and marketing.
The measures will fall short of the total ban proposed last year, which the advertising and broadcasting industry has lobbied against. For example, brand-only advertising online and on TV will continue to be allowed. This means a company often associated with poor dietary habits, such as McDonald's, will be able to advertise as long as no high in fat, salt and sugar products appear. Brands will also be allowed to continue to promote their products on their own websites and social media accounts.
Products that aren't considered as traditional 'junk food' such as honey and jam will not be banned, and zero-sugar drinks will not be included. We have previously warned that even diet versions of fizzy drinks are more acidic than lemon juice or vinegar and are helping to fuel an epidemic of dental erosion.
We continue to work with obesity campaigners on common messages, and to highlight that tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admissions for young children, with 170 children and teenagers in England having tooth extractions under general anaesthesia every day.
Official data has revealed an 18% increase in the number of extractions taking place on children in hospitals since 2012, costing the NHS £205 million.
When it comes to oral health, we believe in prevention first: tooth decay is an avoidable disease and we will continue campaigning for Government's to take this problem seriously and invest in real prevention.