Transnational corporations and oral health: examples from the sugar industry

Cristin E. Kearns Richard G. Watt

Transnational corporations and oral health: examples from the sugar industry

Authors: Cristin E. Kearns Richard G. Watt
doi: 10.1922/CDH_SpecialIssueKearns06

Abstract

This paper seeks to describe the political behavior of transnational corporations (TNCs) related to sugars and dental caries. The paper begins by exploring dental caries as a political issue. It then provides a brief overview of key actors (expanders--e.g. public health advocatesworking to make policy action on sugar likely, and containers--e.g. TNC’s working to prevent policy action on sugar) and the importance of problem definition in public policy making. The paper then compares how expanders and containers frame the problem of sugars and dental caries. Based upon a policy analysis framework, categories used to frame problems include incidence, causality, severity, crisis, characteristics of the problem population, values, and solutions. These categories are discussed with application to debates about public policy solutions to the problem of dental caries. It then concludes by highlighting some tensions that remain in tackling dental caries through legislation and regulation. Key words: Sugars, dental caries, food industry, public policy

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