What is Dental Health Week?
Each year, in the first full week of August, the Australian Dental Association has a week-long campaign promoting good oral health. There are four key messages behind these campaigns:
- Clean between your teeth using floss or interdental brushes
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit sugar intake
These four tenets provide the foundation for good oral health.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
In addition to regular brushing and cleaning, we can make a significant difference to our oral health by sticking to a healthy balanced diet and, importantly, being aware of hidden sugars. Figures show that the average Australian is consuming 14 teaspoons of sugar a day, a whole lot more than the maximum six teaspoons a day recommended by the World Health Organisation. This year’s Dental Health Week campaign focuses on that aspect of oral health, asking us to be ‘sugar savvy’.
While ideally, we would avoid processed foods, we are often time-poor and, let’s face it, lots of them taste good, but there may be an unhealthy reason behind that. One fairly simple way to be sugar savvy is to check the label for grams of sugar per 100grams. Aim to choose foods with a sugar content of 5g or less per 100g. Certainly, if the sugar content is over 15g per 100g then you may want to be popping that particular item back on the shelf.
Why does sugar intake affect my dental health?
Sugar is harmful to your teeth because it reacts with the bacteria in your mouth to produce acid. As the Australian Dental Association explain:
Acid + teeth + time = tooth decay
If we can reduce the sugar content in our diet we can reduce the production of harmful acid and therefore tooth decay. As we have said before, we love sugary treats, but we are careful to maintain good oral hygiene and are conscious of avoiding hidden sugars in the bulk of our diet. A sweet treat as a discretionary item is a lot different from having a sugar-laden diet overall.
There is lots more helpful information on the ADA website Dental Health Week 2020 and we are also happy to answer general questions on oral hygiene either over the phone, email or via Facebook and Instagram.