For 24 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advocated for a reduction in free sugars to be less than 10 percent of a person’s total energy intake. Free sugars are defined as sugar that is added to food during processing whether it’s added by the manufacturer, chef or consumer. You can also include those sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose) which are naturally present in fruits, juices, syrups and honey as well as high fructose corn syrup, used extensively as an inexpensive sweetener in virtually all processed foods. Now published evidence in the Journal of Dental Research by a Newcastle University study acknowledges the credibility behind this threshold. The research findings indicated that consuming less than 10 percent of free sugars in your total daily calories is directly associated with much lower levels of tooth decay. If people decreased their intake of free sugars further to 5 percent, or five teaspoons a day, it could minimize the risk of dental cavities throughout one’s life.
With people living longer, there is an expectation that our natural teeth will be there throughout our lifetimes. The effects of sugar do not stop simply because we reach a certain age. Whenever we eat food or drink beverages that contain sugar we simply put ourselves at risk for dental caries. According to Paula Moynihan, Professor of Nutrition and Oral Health at Newcastle University and leader of the WHO study, “past recommendations on free sugar intake were based on an average of three or fewer cavities in 12-year-olds.” But patterns in tooth decay among major populations indicate that children with less than three cavities at age 12 develop many more cavities well into adulthood.
The Diet of Industrialized Nations
Advancements in technology also influence our diets. As food manufacturers find convenient methods to manufacturer food, sugar is now a staple in many industrialized countries in the world. We’ve surpassed sugary drinks and foods as an occasional treat for birthdays or holidays, and now consume it in high volume almost daily. The WHO is hoping to reverse this trend before emerging third world industrialized countries get a taste of the “sweet life.”
With the Newcastle study, researchers examined the influence of fluoride, and what these experts found that even if certain areas had fluoridated water, or specific people used fluoride toothpaste daily they still got dental caries. While fluoride does protect teeth against decay, it does not completely eliminate tooth decay because it does not eliminate the – excuse the pun – root cause. To further muddy the waters, not everyone has access to fluoridated water or uses toothpaste with fluoride in it.
This study, funded by Newcastle University’s Centre for Oral Health Research, analyzed all research conducted that specifically looked at associations between the amount of sugar consumed and levels of tooth decay. Overall, they studied the metadata of over 55 studies dating back to 1950’s. The comprehensive study used the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment Development and Evaluation system GRADE working group 2004) process to evaluate the quality of evidence, to consider the consistency of results, the size of effects, evidence of dose response, and the strength of the relationship between consumed sugars and dental decay. According to Professor Moynihan, in order for people to make healthier choices about their diet, we have to ensure options lower in sugar are readily available in stores, shops and schools.
Throughout the life of your teeth, you’ll cover many dental hurdles. Between the ages of 25 to 65 years of age, teeth may develop cavities around existing fillings and decay on the root surfaces. As noted by the study, the effects of a sugary diet doesn’t stop at the age of 12. People tend to notice an increase in tooth sensitivity, and gingivitis may start to appear. Also many people between 25 and 65 years of age may find they need tooth replacement or assistance with loss of bone support and gum attachment to teeth. [ADA]
Regardless of what dental event or situation you happen to find yourself in, all of us at Dr. Mark W Langberg, DDS. MAGD, PC of Southfield MI, are always available to help you in any way we can. His dedication to excellence in cosmetic and general dentistry together with his exceptional team means, you’ll find a gentle, non- judgmental and relaxed environment perfectly poised to insure that will keep your pearly whites for your entire life. For comprehensive, modern dental care that’s safe, pain free and non-threatening call Dr. Mark W Langberg at 248-356-8790 for all your dental needs and discover for yourself the difference a great dentist can make!
Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790