As our lifestyles have become busier, looking after our oral health has become more difficult. Grabbing that cheeky caramel latte, snacking through the day due to a missed lunch can all have a negative impact on our teeth.
The general health risks of consuming high levels of sugar are now recognised by government who have now introduced taxation on sugary drinks. Sugar is often hidden in foods or snacks that we consider to be healthy so perhaps this will be the next target for the chancellor.
Every time we drink or eat, our teeth are at risk of acid attack, especially if there is sugar in it. The acid is produced by plaque bacteria, which slowly demineralise the enamel and dentine of the teeth leading to cavities. Recent studies have shown that the process of chewing sugar free gum can help our oral health. This is not a replacement to brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
The process of chewing sugar free gum helps the mouth produce saliva, which is a natural defence against acid. Chewing sugar free gum for 20 minutes after eating increases the flow of saliva which helps to neutralize the acids and protect against tooth decay.
The cost of dental health to the NHS is a staggering £3.4 billion every year. Much of this cost is treating problems which are entirely preventable. A study in 2013 showed that more than a third of 12 year olds in the UK had obvious decay in the permanent teeth. Poor oral health as a child can lead to poor oral health in an adult.
A recent publication in the British Dental Journal suggests that if all 12 year olds across the UK chewed sugar free gum after eating or drinking the NHS could save around £8.2 million a year on dental treatments. Most importantly it could also save children from the risks associated with extractions under general anaesthesia.
Conventional public health messages are difficult to get through to the people who really stand to benefit from them the most. So maybe promotion of sugar free gum may just hit the target.
For more information or advice please call The Mayhill Dental & Specialist Centre on 01600 712020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.