Sugar, Sugar everywhere…
So, there has been a lot in the press recently about how sugar and not fat could be the root cause of obesity in the UK.
Sugar has been likened to ‘crack cocaine’ in some media for its addictive qualities. Anecdotally, we do see some patients who have a ‘sweet tooth’ and some that don’t. Whether this is down to an ‘addiction’ or personal preference it is an interesting debate.
For dental patients, whether this leads to tooth decay or not is very much dependent on how often a patient brushes their teeth. Toothpaste contains fluoride which essentially repairs the teeth from the effects of eating too much sugar.
Studies have shown that the minimum this fluoride should come into contact with teeth, to repair them, is twice a day on a ‘normal’ diet. If someone’s sugar intake is higher, we would suggest that they need to be brushing more often or using a fluoride mouthwash – normally around lunch time.
It is worth remembering that a lot of common, processed foods contain hidden sugars – for instance tomato ketchup contains up to 25% sugar, which is a lot, especially if children eat it at multiple mealtimes in any one day.
Whether the current media storm about the effects of sugar on obesity will resonate and lead to changes is yet to be seen. However, it can only be hoped that decreasing the volume of sugar in your diet can have the added benefit of decreasing dental decay.
Owner and Principal Dentist
The Exeter Dental Centre