How sugar affects your teeth: CFD Tamworth’s Sugar Board Challenge
Becky Asson, Patient Care Coordinator at CFD Tamworth and CFD Fosse Park, looks into the findings of the “Sugar Board Challenge” that was recently running in practice and explains how sugar affects your teeth.
At Centre for Dentistry Tamworth we wanted to look at people’s views on how much sugar they think is in different drinks. How many of you look at how much sugar there is in a drink before you buy it? It could be a lot more than what you initially thought!
We displayed five different drinks which included; a can of Vimto, a chocolate milkshake, a bottle of water, a can of Red Bull and a can of Coco Cola. We then displayed a bag of sugar which contained the amount of sugar in the drink and patients were to guess how much sugar they thought was in each drink.
The impact of sugary drinks on your teeth
There are lots of different foods and drinks that can have long term negative effects on your teeth despite how good your oral hygiene habits may be. Despite fizzy pop and milkshakes being a child’s favourite choice when thirsty, they are some of the main drinks that we should try to avoid due to their high sugar content. Sugary drinks can have impact on your teeth by causing you dental issues such as; gum disease, tooth decay and cavities that you may not even be able to see.
Sugary drinks contain a whole lot of sugar you may not even be aware of and after consumption sticks onto the surface of your teeth. Bacteria found in the mouth eventually becomes attracted to the sugars from the drinks and as an effect produces an acid. This acid then starts the process of removing enamel from your teeth leaving your teeth to become thinner and weaker. This can then develop into a cavity causing further dental issues.
The results are in…
The results we gathered from carrying out this activity were very interesting in looking at individuals presumptions on sugary drinks. One of our patient’s results found that they thought these drinks had:
Another patients results were:
The correct answers from the quiz were:
Facts about sugar intake
According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, Britons have an increased amount of sugar intake as a result of sugars in drinks. Between the ages of 11-18 it is acknowledged that 15% of a child’s intake of sugar is from added sugar.
Food and drink high in sugar have recently been in the spotlight in both the press and Parliament with the sugar tax on beverages in April this year adding on almost 24p per litre of popular drinks depending on its sugar content. This has prompted companies to reduce sugar in it’s drinks, which will hopefully help to reduce the tooth decay risk for people drinking them on a regular basis.
According to the government, adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, equivalent to 7 sugar cubes. The average child aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of sugar in one day, equivalent to 6 sugar cubes.
From looking at our results in practice having one can of Coca Cola a day contains around 35g of sugar which is equivalent to 9 sugar cubes and therefore exceeds the daily recommendation for the intake.
Aim of the sugar board
By carrying out this activity in practice we wanted to educate individuals on the effects of sugary drinks on your teeth including the potential long-term impact. We want to educate more individuals to prevent tooth decay and ensure people are maintaining good oral hygiene to look after our teeth and smiles!