At Market Place Dental we will ask you about how often you consume sugar in your diet. It is commonly known that the amount of sugar consumed has the ability to affect both dental and general health. Not only does sugar drive the most common dental diseases of tooth decay and gum disease but it is also associated with the increasingly common health problems such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The recommendation is that adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes). Full government recommendations for sugar intake can be found on the NHS website.
We can easily identify some free sugars to monitor, and if necessary cut down, as some are visible to us such as a teaspoon of sugar in tea or coffee. But what about free sugars that are 'hidden' within foodstuffs such as cereals, sauces and drinks.
A useful resource that illustrates hidden sugars in food has been put together by the British Heart Foundation. The graphic shows that in a piece of carrot cake there are 10.5 teaspoons of sugar, and that in one tablespoon of tomato ketchup there is a teaspoon of sugar among other examples of hidden, or free, sugar.
The NHS website informs us that if you want to cut down on sugar, get used to reading food labels, comparing products, and choosing lower sugar or sugar-free versions. Sugar comes in many guises to watch out for on food labels, including:
Sugar found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables does not count as free sugars.
Try products containing Xylitol; a natural sweetener which looks and tastes like sugar, has fewer calories, does not raise blood sugar levels and is beneficial to teeth.
Information sources & further reading: