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Cap required on “Free” Sugar in diet to preserve dental health

Posted:  Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Researchers from the University College of London in their latest study published in BMJ Public Access suggested the importance of restricting the sugar intake in the diet to preserve dental health. According to them, sugar intake must be restricted to a maximum of 5% of total energy intake with a target figure of <3% to help prevent dental caries. The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines currently suggest a maximum of 10% (about 50 g) of total energy intake from sugars and a target figure of 5% (about 25 g).

The study found that the incidence of tooth decay was higher in adults than children and the only cause seems to be increased consumption of ‘free’ sugars. According to WHO Nutrition Guidance Advisory group definition, ‘free’ sugars are monosaccharides and disaccharides that are added to a food by a manufacturer, cook or the consumer. Additionally, sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juice and concentrates are also termed as free sugars.

The researchers accessed global public health records to compare the effect of diet on dental health over time and across large populations of adults and children. They found that an increase in free sugar intakes increased the risk of tooth decay proportionately.

Among adults, the incidence of tooth decay increased dramatically even with a little sugar consumption over 0% energy. In children, an increase from near-zero sugar to 5% energy doubled the tooth decay prevalence.

Worldwide, tooth decay is the most common noncommunicable disease. It routinely affects 60–90% of school-age children and a vast majority of adults. Reiterating the importance of restricting the sugar in the diet, co-author Professor Phillip James said, “We need to make sure that use of fruit juices and the concept of sugar-containing treats for children are not promoted. Food provided at nurseries and schools should have a maximum of free sugars, amounting to no more than 2.5% of energy. He further elaborated, “Even food labels should specify anything above 2.5% sugars as 'high.'”

As highlighted by this study, one must indeed be careful about the sugar intake. If study findings are validated, a revision of population dietary goals and government policy would be necessary in order to help curb the problem of tooth decay.

For study details:-Click Here!