Sugar is not good for our teeth, we all know that. It reacts with bacteria in plaque, creates acids that destroy the enamel and form cavities. So why does the press keep telling us about it? If we judge by these three shocking statistics, it would seem the message has not yet sunk in: 1) 25,000 children were admitted to a UK hospital last year with tooth decay; 2) tooth decay is the number one reason for hospitalisation in children; 3) children tooth extractions, with tooth decay being the key cause, costs the NHS £30 million a year.
‘But I clean my teeth and don’t eat lots of sweets…’
Unfortunately the solution is not as straightforward as pointing the finger at confectionary and fizzy drinks (did you know that a 500ml bottle of coke has 13.5 teaspoons of sugar in it?) and then choosing to avoid those things. It would appear that it’s not all down to ignorance but complete and utter confusion, too.
In his recent Channel 4 documentary Sugar Rush, chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver exposed just how much sugar is lurking in everyday foods, often surprising both himself as well as his audience. It seems that most of us are eating a lot more sugar than we realise, and certainly more than the guidelines of seven teaspoons for adults and five for children. The incredible reality is that in Britain we consume on average the equivalent of 40 sugar cubes a day.
What action can we take?
At our central London specialist dental practice, we are asked many questions about avoiding sugar and gladly advise our patients on what to look out for on labels, what to avoid and how best to take care of your teeth. We also recommend regular appointments with the hygienist. As a specialist dental practice, we bring together many experts including a paediatric dentist and a hygienist specialising in teenage oral health so that we can cater for London patients of all ages.