Soft drink manufacturers have criticised a new dental hygiene campaign which uses graphic imagery of tooth decay to warn Aussies of the dangers of sugary drinks.
The campaign, titled ‘Rethink Sugary Drink’, and has been backed by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), Diabetes Australia and the Cancer Council.
Rethink Sugary Drink is aiming to prompt a 20 per cent increase in the levies placed on sugary drinks, a government-led social media campaign educating Australians on the dangers of sugary drinks as well as easier access to fluoridated tap water.
As a way of getting attention, Rethink Sugary Drink is following in the footsteps of anti-smoking campaigns of the past, using graphic close-up images of tooth decay as well as other impacts of sugary drinks.
Speaking on the campaign, ADA Victorian branch CEO Matthew Hopcraft said: “When we see people who are consuming up to 1.5 litres of soft drink a day we see dental effects, and some dramatic tooth decay.
“The impact it has on someone [is] not only through pain, but also difficulty eating, difficulty sleeping.”
While Cancer Council Victoria spokesperson Craig Sinclair added: “We know men are twice as likely as women to consume sugary drinks, so targeted hard-hitting campaigns like this are crucial if we want to end the young Aussie male’s love affair with sugary drinks.”
However, representatives from the Australian Beverages Council have slammed the campaign, calling it “misguided”.
Commenting on Rethink Sugary Drink, the council’s CEO Geoff Parker said: “The work that these groups are doing to raise awareness of improving overall health should be acknowledged.
“However, just focusing in on a small and declining part of the diet, and that is sugar in soft drinks, is misguided and is not going to help anyone when it comes to improving overall dental health.”
Parker added there is “no evidence” to show that an increase in taxes would reduce dental health or obesity in Australians.