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Sugar – are we in the midst of a war?

Sugar! Decay! Are you at risk?

While we are all at risk, and indeed many of us are consuming far more sugar than we should on a daily basis, teenagers face the biggest threat. The good news is most of the extra sugar intake is coming from soft drinks, energy and sport beverages, fruit and vegetable juices and confectionaries such as cookies, cakes and lollies.  Foods that should be easy to eliminate from ones diet.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends only 25 g or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.  Australians are consuming 60 g or 14 teaspoons. It might seem difficult to consume this much sugar but when you consider that a smoothie or fruit yoghurt can contain 30 g, it is easy to see how the recommended 25 g is easily exceeded.

Natural sugars found in dairy, whole fruits and vegetable is needed to produce energy, cell and brain function.  The sugar is broken down into glucose starting when it comes in contact with saliva in the mouth and then absorbed through the intestines into the blood stream and used to support cellular functions.

The choice we have is how we get sugars in our diets: through non-essential foods and beverages or through fresh fruits, vegetable and whole grain breads.  Our role as Dental professionals have the opportunity to influence the intake of sugar from beverages and other sweets as it not only impacts obesity levels and overall glucose levels, it also increases the risk of dental decay.  Starting the conversation with children, adolescents and their parents early on can help develop healthy habits that contribute to overall wellness.

What can we do?

Some believe that a tax on sugary beverages would have an impact on consumption and subsequently, on obesity rates. The price alone could act as a deterrent and encourage people to buy fewer sugary drinks.

Others believe that education is key – if people better understood the dangers of excess sugar and became more aware of what they were eating and drinking, this would be far more effective.

Dental professionals tend to agree with the latter idea. Promoting all round wellbeing rather than simply dental health, we can help raise awareness among our patients of the potential risks of sugar. We can also suggest methods to help minimise the decay risk such as simple and effective oral health adjuncts clinically proven to remove plaque and promote good oral health. The Waterpik® Water Flosser is an ideal tool for a wide range of patients, shown to remove plaque and reduce gingival inflammation better than brushing and flossing

 

Ask a dental professional for different and advanced strategies to win the battle over dental decay.  Don’t let the sugar hand grenade blow up in your mouth. If you are looking for a Gold Coast Dentist, we are based in Helensvale and would partner with you in this fight!! Call  (07) 5573-0188  to book an appointment today.

Courtesy of Waterpik

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