Experts say that maintaining a limit of around five teaspoons of sugar a day - less than 5 per cent of the daily total calorie intake – will allow people to 'keep their teeth for life'.
Gone are the days when sweet treats like cake, pie and ice cream are saved for Christmas and birthdays. These have become everyday staples on our diet and experts are calling out to ‘reverse this trend.’
Researchers at Newcastle University are urging people to cut their sugar intake to just five teaspoons a day in order for their teeth to last a lifetime. The study commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises the advantage of this ‘sugar limit’ by showing that when less than 10% of total calories in the diet is made up of free sugars there are much lower levels of tooth decay.
Newcastle University Professor of Nutrition and Oral Health, Prof. Paula Moynihan said: "People now expect to keep their teeth into old age and given that the effects of sugars on our teeth are lifelong, then limiting sugars to less than 5% of the calories we eat would minimize the risk of dental caries throughout life.”
The researchers also found that fluoride does not shield our teeth against cavities caused by sugar. Prof. Moynihan said: “Fluoride undoubtedly protects the teeth against decay but it does not eliminate tooth decay and it does not get rid of the cause – dietary sugars. Moreover, not everyone has good exposure to fluoride through drinking water and or toothpastes containing fluoride.”
The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research.
What are free sugars?
Free sugars are defined by the World Health Organization as sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer; plus those naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.
How much exactly is a gram of sugar? One teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. That means a 16-ounce bottle of Nesquick Fat Free Chocolate Milk which has 56 grams sugar contains about 14 teaspoons of sugar!
Did you know?
The average 12-ounce cranberry juice cocktail contains 12 teaspoons of sugar.
The average 12-ounce cola contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.
The average 12-ounce orange juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.