Sugar is a hot topic right now.
But it’s not a new thing.
For a long time – close to several decades – there’s been awareness about its associated diet and health dangers.
Countless studies, research papers and books have highlighted the connection to serious health issues.
Think here: obesity, dental cavities, gum disease and diabetes.
These are all measured as by-products of excessive consumption.
The bad news is, they only seem to be worsening.
But is hope on the horizon?
Recent talk in political circles has floated the idea of introducing a sugar tax in Australia.
Mexico and the United Kingdom have already walked that pathway.
British celebrity chef and health campaigner, Jamie Olivier has thrown down the gauntlet, bluntly challenging Australia to “pull your finger out – it’s about time your governments got onto this.”
Advocates for the tax are wondering why a similar regulation isn’t implemented here.
The alarming obesity epidemic affecting both children and adults.
Despite the best efforts of many, including the Australian Dental Association (ADA), to educate and raise awareness, it seems we’re not acting.
So, what’s the solution?
As it is with all complex issues, there is no one right answer.
Sadly, silver bullets don’t exist.
However, because we’re thinkers and doers at Dental as Anything, we believe change starts with us.
Our patients know we take the responsibility of local dentist serving a community very seriously.
They also know prevention is at the heart of our approach.
Our big focus for this year and beyond is education.
This is just one key area where we know a little information can go a long way.
We’re not waiting for a sugar tax or a levy or someone to listen to Jamie Oliver.
So we’re sharing these five fast facts about sugar that prove you’re already sweet enough.
#1 Sugar Fact – Reducing sugar consumption is your responsibility
No government will ever be able to control the consumption of sugar completely (or even very much at all).
There is only one person who can do that for you.
Newsflash: it’s you!
Statistics gathered in Mexico show a regulation on sugary drinks might help a little (consumption of sugary drinks is down by 15.7 percent after two years).
Great. But, is it sustainable?
And are we absenting people from personal responsibility?
From our perspective, it’s not the government’s job to stop you guzzling fizzy drinks.
Every individual has a personal responsibility to limit the amount of sugar they (and their family consumes).
#2 Sugar Fact – Sugary drinks have sugar in them
Okay, so we’re being a bit cheeky now.
But, seriously, if you must drink a soft drink or high sugar drink, be aware that there are literally teaspoons of sugar in every one.
The average 375 ml can of soft drink alone contains around 10 teaspoons.
When we show parents this, they’re often surprised. Then concern kicks in.
Guess what’s missing in that can?
Nutritional value of any kind.
There is absolutely none at all.
The secret here, if it’s a secret at all, is to drop these drinks from your diet and your children’s diet.
Drink water instead.
It’s better for you.
And we won’t need a sugar tax if you do.
#3 Sugar Fact – All that sugar causes decay
Get out of here!
I know what you’re thinking: Dr Mark, now you’re just being smart.
Here’s what I’m thinking: Hey, you should see what I see every day of the week.
One in three kids today aged 5-6 years have tooth decay on their baby teeth.
Two out of five children aged 12-14 years have decay in their permanent teeth.*
I think you’ll agree Australia is definitely one of the lucky places on the planet.
But we’re not looking after one of our most precious resources: our kids.
We have a responsibility as parents, guardians and carers to teach the important life skills of healthy diet and brushing and flossing teeth.
Because sugar causes decay.
And it’s completely preventable.
#4 Sugar Fact – Sugar consumption is linked to chronic disease
Okay, so maybe you don’t want to invite me to your next party because you’re worried I’ll share all my fun facts.
No problem. I am so okay with that.
But before you cross my name off the invite list, here’s something else you should know.
Excess consumption of the sparkly white stuff is linked to chronic disease.
I mentioned obesity, diabetes and gum disease earlier, and that’s just for starters.
Understanding the links between oral health and general health is vital.
It could save your life, and the lives of people you love and care about.
Next time you visit your local dentist, ask them how they can work with you to prevent chronic disease, not react to it.
#5 Sugar Fact – You are sweet enough already
So, normally I’d save this line just for my beautiful wife, but because I’m so passionate about the whole sugar thing, I’m laying it on you too.
You actually don’t need more sugar in our diet.
In the words of self-proclaimed I Quit Sugar queen, Sarah Wilson, we actually like to live without. We are most creative in these situations….This is what makes life better.
People, you are sweet enough already.
I wish I could say this was rocket science, but it’s not.
Just eat less sugar.
Drink more water.
Visit your dentist.
Keep your teeth.
Enjoy life more.
* Statistics quoted from ADA News Bulletin, November 2017, The Sweet Debate.
Call to make your appointment (07) 5573-0188