In January 2014, taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and nonessential energy-dense food were implemented in Mexico to discourage the consumption of these products. Published evaluations have shown reductions in purchases of taxed food and beverages associated with the implementation of this fiscal policy. Although there are some studies on the impact on health based on simulation studies, no evaluations with empirical data on changes in oral health have been published. We used administrative records and data from an epidemiological surveillance system to estimate changes in (1) outpatient visits related to dental caries; (2) having experienced dental caries: Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth (DMFT) >0 for permanent dentition or dmft >0 for primary dentition (dmft); (3) number of teeth with caries experience (DMFT and dmft), (4) cases with DMFT >0 or dmft >0, and (5) the series of mean DMFT or dmft, associated with the taxes. We estimated probit and negative binomial models for outcomes at individual level, and interrupted time series analysis for population-level outcomes. The implementation of the taxes was associated with negative changes in the trends of outpatient visits, as well as for cases with DMFT >0, dmft >0 and mean DMFT. Taxes were also associated with a lower probability of having experienced dental caries and with a lower number of teeth with caries experience in the samples studied. Our results suggest positive impacts of the implementation of taxes on unhealthy food and beverages in the oral health of Mexicans, which are the first health benefits observed, and add to the health benefits predicted by modeling studies.
© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.