Reducing tooth decay might require reducing your sugar intake, too, says this study conducted by researchers from the Newcastle University. Supporting the recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO) to limit free sugar intake to a maximum of 10% of a person’s total calorie intake, this study shows that cutting down on free sugar may result to healthier teeth for life.
A WHO-commissioned research led by Professor Paula J. Moynihan of Newcastle University reinforces the WHO recommendation that 10% of the total calorie intake must be the upper limit for free sugars consumed by a person to maintain good oral health. Free sugars are sugars added to food and those naturally contained in honey and fruits. The study shows that when this maximum is observed, there is lower possibility of developing tooth decay. The research suggests further that observing half that limit, meaning keeping sugar below 5% of total calorie intake, results to healthier teeth for life.
The 5% limit should be around 5 teaspoonfuls of sugar a day. That’s not a very difficult restriction to live by considering the lifelong benefits that could result from it. However, in most industrialized countries today, sugar has found its way into almost all processed food and beverages. This makes the 5-tsp a day quite a challenge to overcome. In this regard, Professor Moynihan and co-author Dr. Sarah Kelly of Cambridge University recommend that the consuming public must be kept informed of the sugar levels in foods and beverages to enable them make better decisions.
Further, Professor Moynihan explained that fluoride does offer protection against tooth decay but it does not eliminate the incidence of tooth decay. People still developed dental caries and tooth decay even in places with fluoridated water. The reason for this is dietary sugar which is the root cause for dental caries, says Professor Moynihan.
The researchers did a systematic review and analysis of around 55 related studies that went as far back as 1950. These studies showed consistently that the amount of sugar consumed by an individual directly affects the level of dental caries developed.
Newcastle University. “Call for action on cutting sugar.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209204040.htm>.