Sugar And Your Dental Health

Sugar And Your Dental Health

With a new sugar tax coming into place this time next year, the Irish Dental Association has criticized the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan's decision not to use the additional revenue raised to fund dental health promotion initiatives. The sugar tax, which comes into effect next April, will coincide with the introduction of a similar tax in the UK. The Chief Executive of the IDA, Fintan Hourihan has called on the Minister to reconsider it.

“Dental decay is the most common chronic disease young children experience in Ireland  today. This is due in the main to very high levels of sugar consumption, including soft drinks. The direct link between sugar intake and dental decay has been clearly established so it makes sense that a significant proportion of the monies raised through a sugar tax should be used for oral health promotion. This is the point the Minister for Health needs to make forcefully with his ministerial colleague.”

The tax is something long overdue, as caries caused by sugar has seen a dramatic increase, half of Irish children aged five have been found to have decayed teeth, with a further 10,000 general anesthetic procedures being carried out on under-16s. Although dental caries is a preventable disease, it is still a major health problem in Ireland. There are, of course, various factors to consider when looking at what causes tooth decay, but there is growing evidence to suggest that sugary foods and beverages are the main dietary cause of caries in adults and children. The consequences cam include severe discomfort, infection, further tooth loss and loss of self-esteem. However, in children the risks are far greater as permanent damage, growth and development issues can arise along with the possibility of specialist or hospital treatment. Oral health is vital to our overall general health, which is why it's so important to arrange regular check-ups with your dentist.

So what exactly can you do to help prevent tooth decay brought on by a high sugar diet?

  • Brush at least twice daily. The best time to brush your teeth is after meals, using a toothbrush with a small head for easier access to your back teeth. Softer bristles will also be kind to your gums. Be sure you take the time to brush thoroughly, usually between 2-3 minutes.
  • Using a fluoridated toothpaste will help harden tooth enamel and reduce the risk of decay.
  • Floss your teeth using a slow and gentle sawing motion.
  • Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods/drinks as the acid can soften tooth material and dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel, causing cavities.
  • Avoid using your teeth to remove bottle tops or rip open packaging, as you risk chipping or breaking your teeth.
  • Be sure to visit your dentist for regular check-ups and mention any dental problem such as a toothache or bleeding gums.

It's easy to think that the prospect of going to the dentist is a daunting one. However, here at the Friendly Dentist, Bray, we take a rather unique approach to helping you regain that smile. We pride ourselves on not being like the rest. Instead of getting lost in the shuffle, our great prices and special offers on everything from teeth whitening to dental implants mean that you are guaranteed the best service at the lowest of prices.

Call us now to make an appointment on 01 286 3787 or email us info@thefriendlydentist.ie!

 

 

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