Sugar, Your Health And Your Teeth
What do we believe when it comes to sugar and our health? There are so many theories currently circulating in health circles, it’s hard to know what to believe! The one thing experts do agree on is that we need to limit the amount of sugar in our diets.
Essentially, high sugar intake should be avoided because it has no nutritional value other than to provide calories. Definitively, it can be said that the over-consumption of sugar is responsible for tooth decay as well as adding extra weight to our bodies. In fact, the effect of excess sugar consumption on tooth decay is a significant health problem in Australian society today and is the second most costly diet-related disease. Did you know that 11 million newly decayed teeth develop in Australian every year? You can read more about this growing problem and its impact on the Australian health system in this article.
Not only is tooth decay this country’s most common health problem, it is on the rise among children. According to University of Adelaide Professor Kay Roberts-Thomson from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, tooth decay rates in children have reversed since the mid 1990s. Professor Roberts-Thomson says in the 50s dental decay was rife among Australian children. “By the 70s we had levels of decay of about four to five teeth affected in 12-year-old children. That dropped to just below one by the mid 1990s. But since that time the trend has reversed and the decay rates now seem to be increasing,” she said. You can read more about this here. This fact is concerning considering that most dental disease is preventable.
The Australian Dental Association’s Health Committee Chairman, Dr Peter Alldritt, says tooth decay can be prevented with a healthy diet and proper dental care. He suggests that, to prevent tooth decay, you should:
- brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
- floss once a day
- control the consumption of sugary or acidic food and drinks between meals
- drink soft drinks through a straw to minimise acid exposure (we’d rather you gave up soft drinks altogether!)
- eat calcium rich foods like cheese and yogurt to help neutralise acids.
Currently the World Health Organisation’s guidelines with regards to sugar intake recommend we limit our intake of sugars to no more than 10% of our total calorie intake. They also suggest “a further reduction to less than 5% of total energy for additional health benefits“.
Here at CDG we’d encourage Canberrans to follow these guidelines and reduce their sugar consumption to less than 5%. We should avoid hidden sugars in processed foods and try and get our sugars from food where it’s naturally occurring such as fruit and vegetables. The team at CDG are happy to help your family learn about how to brush and floss teeth correctly. Ask us at your next visit!