• February 13, 2014
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Hello Again!

I know that we are only just into February but with Valentine’s Day at the end of the week, we are actually fully into the throes of 2014! Did you know that Australia’s Healthy Weight Week is from the 17-23 of this month? What does a healthy weight have to do with my teeth, you may be thinking? Well, since you asked……

You may recall from childhood that the Dentist was always encouraging you not to eat sugar. Sugar was the enemy of your teeth! It causes tooth decay! Nobody wants to have fillings so, therefore, don’t eat any sugar! I certainly remember being informed of the dangers of sugar to my teeth when I was in grade school.

When I was in my early twenties, my Doctor told me to eliminate excess sugar from my diet. She said that the addition of extra sugar was unnecessary and that it could actually be detrimental to my health. I was appropriately concerned and I have not added a single teaspoon of sugar to my tea ever since.  Not that I’m “off of sugar”—I certainly still purchase items from the store that have added sugar, but I am highly aware of the number of those grams of added sugar. I read labels routinely. It’s interesting that sugar is now the enemy. I recall the Atkins diet craze at home, and then fat was bad, and then there was the whole paleo diet thing (which I know nothing about!)and now sugar is the new pink.

The Daily Intake Guide has listed the average adult as being able to consume 90 grams of sugar per day.1 Now, that is total sugar, not added sugar, it is the value of all of the combined sugars in the food item. You can calculate your daily averages on their website using the link listed as #1 below.

So, with the sugar being moved out of the way in terms of diet, now we can focus on your teeth again! A study done at the University of Newcastle mentioned by the ADA (those folks who know teeth) states that a dietary intake of less than 10% total free sugars has been shown to reduce tooth decay.2 In case you didn’t notice the maths, that is about the same amount of daily sugars that are considered to be “average” with the Daily Intake Guide. The ADA goes on to propose that reducing sugars even further, to about 5% of a total daily intake would dramatically reduce, “the risk of dental cavities throughout life.”2

Well, I don’t know about you, but I might be inclined to go on a ruthless pantry rampage this weekend and toss all of those high-sugar things. Happy Valentine’s Day to me! Although Healthy Weight Week is officially next week, maybe I’ll keep one chocolate block for Saturday.

1)      http://www.mydailyintake.net/daily-intake-levels/

2)      http://www.ada.org.au/App_CmsLib/Media/Lib/1312/M717902_v1_635223518532062748.pdf

For further information on Health Weight Week:


Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.


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