Apparently March is National Nutrition Month! I know- it seems like there’s a month, week or day for almost everything! But it does give me the opportunity to discuss some dentally relevant nutritional information, namely added sugars and sugary drinks.
Obviously I’m not qualified to offer nutritional advice, but being a lifelong sugar addict, I do feel that it’s my obligation to speak out about sugar. In 2016 the American Dental Association adopted a comprehensive policy on nutrition supporting the World Health Organization’s recommendation of limiting added sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons a day for adults.
This format doesn’t provide enough space to list all of the medical, let alone dental, reasons why we should limit our sugar, but I’m happy to see that public policies like Philadelphia’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax are not only raising awareness but also beginning to show results.
For more information on how what you eat affects your teeth, please visit the ADA’s website – mouthhealthy.org. As always, I invite you to call with any questions. Feel free to contact us at Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA or call us at 215-230-7667.
And what you can do about it.
Sugar is not just the bane of your average dentist but of the entire health care community as well. There is an excellent article in this month’s (August 2013) issue of National Geographic outlining the history and general relationship of sugar and health.
Although the American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of no more than 150 calories (9 tsp.) for men and 100 calories (6 tsp.) of sugar for women, consumption has ballooned from an average of 333 cal./ day in 1970 to 363 cal./ day in 2011. That’s over 22 teaspoons a day for the average American! And America is the top consumer of high-fructose corn syrup, the worst form of sugar. That is the equivalent of 51 pounds of sugar per person annually!
The result of all this sugar intake is not just an alarming increase in the tooth decay rate in children but an increase in the incidence of “metabolic syndrome” in American adults, possibly affecting as much as one third of the population! Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of heart attack. I won’t go into how this happens (you can read about it yourself if interested) except to say the primary culprit is — you guessed it — sugar!
The solution is obvious — eat less sugar. But this is difficult in a society that puts sugar in everything from ketchup to cornbread. The solution I recommend is Xylitol, a natural sweetener that is FDA approved.
It is also safe for diabetics, prevents ear infections, increases the activity of white blood cells and prevents cavities! You can get all the information you need regarding xylitol by going to: www.Xylitol.org or by contacting our office for more references. We keep an entire list of products containing xylitol that I would be happy to share with you.
To your health!