16 MAY 2018

The Oral Health Foundation is calling for a change in the law to ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s in the United Kingdom.

New research reveals the proposed legislation is now backed by more than nine in ten (93%) British adults, with even greater support (98%) coming from those with children.1

Some national supermarkets introduced a ban earlier this year on the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s, with those buying drinks with over 150mg of caffeine per litre needing to provide proof of age.

However, the Oral Health Foundation does not believe a voluntary ban will be effective in reducing young people’s exposure to energy drinks.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the charity, says there is an urgent and necessary need to protect children from the enormous health risks that consuming excessive amounts of energy drinks cause.

Dr Carter says: “Energy drinks contain an obscene amount of caffeine and sugar, resulting in concerns around behaviour as well as health.

“Many energy drinks contain more than twice the daily allowance of sugar for a child. The potential damage caused to oral health alone is extreme and has contributed to thousands of children in the UK having rotten teeth removed in hospital every year.

“The voluntary ban by supermarkets earlier this year is highly applauded, but it is simply not going to influence the amount of energy drinks we are seeing being consumed by young children.

“A change in the law would immediately prevent the sale of energy drinks to children in local shops and convenience stores, vending machines, entertainment complexes like cinemas and bowling alleys, as well as in restaurants. 

“These changes, along with those made by the supermarkets could have a real and tangible effect on the health of children in the UK.”

New research from the charity shows almost one in four (23%) British adults say they need energy drinks to get through the day while more than one in ten (12%) consume an energy drink every day.

As part of National Smile Month, the Oral Health Foundation want to drive change to reduce how much sugar is consumed in the UK and raise awareness of the potential damage it can cause to oral health.

“The consumption of energy drinks and other sugar filled drinks have undoubtedly contributed to a children’s dental health crisis in Britain where a child has a rotten tooth pulled out in hospital every 10 minutes,” Dr Carter adds.

“This is appalling as every single case of childhood tooth decay can be prevented. A good brushing routine with a fluoride toothpaste and dental visits from an early age, along with a balanced diet, are all that is needed to provide children with a healthy smile.

“During National Smile Month we would like everybody to take a minute to think about their oral health. This campaign is the perfect opportunity for you to make a positive change, not only to improve your oral health, but that of your family’s too.”

National Smile Month is being supported by some of the nation’s best-known brands and retailers. Oral-B are platinum sponsors of the campaign, with further support from Wrigley, Philips, Regenerate Enamel Science, POLO® Sugar Free and Curaprox.

Visit the National Smile Month campaign area for more information about how to get a healthy mouth and to learn about how you can get involved in this year’s campaign.


1. Oral Health Foundation (2018) ‘National Smile Month 2018 United Kingdom Survey’, Atomik Research, Survey, April 2018, Sample 2,005