All News

‘Action on Sugar’: A dental perspective

Illume’s customer survey in 2013 revealed that the majority of Illume’s clients are registered with the practice due to a combination of its excellent dental services and ability to provide an environment where clients feel safe and well looked after.

Part of Illume’s customer service is to provide clients with advice and information that will help to achieve optimum oral health.

A topic that has been hot in the press this week is sugar - where a group of specialists have formed an anti-sugar campaign, ‘action on sugar’, that aims to raise public awareness of sugar content in food and drink, and particularly the ‘hidden’ sugars in certain products. In this campaign, sugar has been deemed the ‘new tobacco’, blamed for rising obesity levels.

On discussing the report, practice owner Tim Rumney says “For many years Dentists have advised patients about the effects of sugar on teeth – when you eat food that contains sugar, the bacteria in the mouth breaks down the carbohydrate and produces acids that then dissolves the mineral in the tooth enamel. Eating a lot of sugary foods can lead to tooth decay, pain and even tooth loss. It also feeds the bacteria that causes gum disease”

“The general public is aware of the sugar content in sweets, chocolates and biscuits, but do not know that many foods that are seemingly healthy or savoury contain a lot of “hidden” sugars – yoghurt is a prime suspect here. As ever, sugar may be fine to eat as a treat in moderation, but a diet high in sugar creates problems.”

Though Illume does not like to ‘preach’ to any clients about individual food choices, we thought we would take this opportunity to provide information on ‘hidden sugars’ so individuals can make an informed decision about certain food products.

Cereals: Though cereal is often deemed the healthy choice for breakfast, many cereals and particularly children’s cereals are laced with sugar. Look for cereals with a total sugar content of 5g or less per 100g.

Savoury foods like pasta sauces, baked beans and even bread contain sugar. Low fat options actually have a higher sugar content in order to make them taste better. Making certain pasta sauces at home and swapping white bread for wholegrain or granary bread can massively reduce your sugar content without compromising on taste.

Yoghurts can contain a lot sugar with some including up to half of your recommended daily allowance – so even low fat varieties may not be as healthy as you think. Choose natural yoghurt and add fresh fruit to curb any sweet cravings.

The main reason for the current action on sugar’ campaign is because of rising obesity and diabetes levels. However, it is also a timely reminder that sugar contributes hugely to dental disease and the main message from a dental point of view is to reduce not only the amount of sugar in your diet but also the frequency.

If you are concerned about the effects of sugar on your teeth and would like a friendly chat with your dentist please contact the practice to arrange an appointment.

For further information about ‘Action on Sugar’ please read here.