You may have heard about it on the radio recently or perhaps you noticed when it took the top spot on BBC News’ health section. I wouldn’t be shocked if most, or possibly all, people can say they’ve recognised this very same ‘habit’ becoming more and more common in their place of work. We’re talking about the office cake culture.
Statistics show that obesity levels are on the rise. An example of this is the proportion of men in the UK who are medically categorised as obese which rose from 13.2% in 1993 to 26.9% in 2015 with women’s statistics showing the a similar increase also. It is thought that an increase in the levels of sugary food is partially to blame for this.
Although last year’s statistics are yet to be released, we are concerned that the effect an increase in sugar has on a person’s’ health, including their oral health. Most people will know that too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, but it’s actually what happens once you consume sugar that causes the damage. Unfortunately there are certain harmful bacterias that feed on the sugars in your mouth and create acids that attack and destroy your tooth enamel (the protective outer layer of your tooth). These can lead to cavities which, if left untreated, could result in tooth loss.
So how can we reduce the amount of sugar we consume and help keep our teeth healthy?
We’re not suggesting that you give up cake for good, we’re all human after all, but perhaps only have a small slice on extra special occasions. Here’s our top tips to resist the sugar:
- Consider low sugar alternatives to your favourite treats. Lots of companies now produce sugar free versions of the public’s most loved ‘treats’. These should still be enjoyed only in moderation, but they’ll cause less damage to your teeth compared to their full-sugar relatives.
- Reduce the frequency of sugary treats. Little and often is a common pattern in people’s diets. However when it comes to sugar this should be avoided; try to cut out the snacks and keep your sugars mainly to meal times.
- Move those sweets away…far far away. Out of sight, out of mind. Make sure the biscuit tin is inconveniently located in at the other end of the room or, even better, away from your office completely.
- Drink water throughout the day. You may not realise it, but the drinks you consume often contain a lot of sugar. Even the most innocent of drinks, such as fruity water, contain sugars to give them that fruity flavour. Stick to pure water during the day and keep any juices to mealtimes to prevent your teeth being constantly attacked by acid.
- Invest in a fluoride mouthwash. Fluoride mouthwashes can be used after a meal to help neutralise the acid in the mouth and therefore may help to reduce cavities. Just to clarify: using a fluoride mouthwash does not make it ok to continue snacking throughout the day.
- Make sure the whole family attends regular check-ups. It’s important to attend regular dental check-ups so that your dentist can keep an eye on your teeth and if necessary provide treatment before the tooth’s condition deteriorates. We also help our patients to find enjoyable alternatives to sugary food and drinks; we find this is especially important for children.
If you would like to book an appointment for either your child or yourself, please call the Studios on 0207 637 8484. Between the 13th and 25th February we are offering free checkups for children up to the age of 18 as part of our ‘Children’s Week’.