In the U.S., approximately 92 percent of adults between the ages of 20 to 64 suffer from dental carries – a condition more commonly known as tooth decay or cavities – in at least one permanent tooth. To help reduce the prevalence of decay, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University College London have proposed lowering the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended maximum of daily total calories derived from free sugar from 10 percent to 5 percent, with an actual target of just 3 percent.
The WHO defines free sugar as any disaccharides and monosaccharaides that a consumer, cook, or manufacturer adds to foods. Naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in honey, fruit juice, and syrup, are also considered free sugars. As your choice for kids dentist in Oregon City, Oregon City Dentistry want sot let you know about this important issue.
Sugar and Tooth Decay
Research has well established the connection between sugar consumption and tooth decay. Plaque, a sticky bacteria that thrives in the mouth, feeds off the sugars we consume to produce acids that erode away at tooth enamel. The more sugar we consume, the more fuel we provide plaque to cause permanent damage.
Unless properly removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque acids will continue destroying an individual’s teeth to the point where he or she begins to experience toothache or an abscess – a bacterial infection that causes pus to collect.
Despite the advances made in preventative dentistry, researchers note that the prevalence of tooth decay worldwide has reached epidemic proportions in both children and adults. Much of what has helped to drive tooth decay around the globe, researchers place much of the blame on sugar intake.
The WHO in 2002 set the recommended daily guidelines for free sugar intake at maximum of 10 percent of an individual’s total energy intake, the rough equivalent of 50 grams of sugar per day. However, the WHO also recommends that individuals should actually target half that number – 5 percent or 25 grams – of daily sugar intake. Researchers involved in the this study recommend an even more aggressive reduction in sugar intake by advocating that 5 percent should represent the daily maximum, with an actual target intake of just 3 percent.
Shifting Away From Sugar
Researchers have based their new recommendation on analysis of public health records from several countries. Researchers compared sugar consumption and dental health over time among large population groups of both children and adults.
Researchers discovered that adults suffered from higher incidence rates of tooth decay than children, and this incidence rate soared with any sugar consumption that exceeded 0 percent of total daily calories. However, even among children, researchers found that shifting from almost no sugar consumption to 5 percent of total daily calorie intake double tooth decay rates. Tooth decay rates continued to increase as sugar intake increased.
As the direct connection between sugar intake and tooth decay becomes clearer, researchers advocate reducing the amount of sugar consumed daily as the primary means of ending the prevalence of tooth decay worldwide.