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Front-of-pack health warnings on sugar products a likely solution to curbing consumer behaviour

For many in the health and medical industry more radical action is needed to dramatically reduce excessive sugar consumption. Research studies continue to raise the alarm to the life-reducing effects of high sugar diets. For those who consistently consume way more than the recommended daily allowance of sugar (including all forms of sugar), they are at an increased risk of obesity, poor dental health and are predisposed to developing serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

The intensity of the focus on sugar in recent times comes on the back of worrying statistics revealed by numerous scientific and medical studies. One research study relating to children and tooth decay showed that in England alone, 170 children and teenagers endure tooth extractions that are performed in hospitals every day. The dire consequences on tooth health due to the alarming levels of sugar consumed strengthens the fight, (which also includes waging war on obesity in children), of the urgent need to cut back on sugar.

The British Dental Association (BDA) joins the call for implementing measures geared to motivating consumers to lower their intake of sugar. Possible intervention measures include making changes to marketing campaigns and product labelling, imposing a tax on sugar and parents overseeing the brushing of teeth of their children.

Another equally important measure – an importance that cannot be overstated – is attending a dental clinic to have a professional dentist Soho carry out proper dental examinations to identify potential problem areas and to initiate early preventive dental care. Seeking early preventive dentistry care is highly effective in safeguarding the dental health of patients for the long term.

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How front-of-pack health warnings on labels can help

One scientific question asked the simple question – can graphic health warnings depicted on labels deter consumer inclination to buy sugar-sweetened drinks? To answer this question, researchers presented to participants in the study sugary drinks with four different types of health warnings on labels that consisted of written text detailing information about the risks and visual health warnings – images of rotten teeth. The results were insightful – the visual health warning had the most significant impact – a 20 per cent reduction – on lowering participants’ preference for reaching for a sugary drink.

Self-enforced measures to lower sugar intake

In addition to campaigns initiated by health authorities to lower sugar consumption there is much a patient can do themselves to protect their physical and dental health. The dental industry recommends putting in place the following guidelines.

Don’t neglect your daily oral hygiene practice – ensure you brush and floss as instructed by a dental practitioner. Be selective of the dental products you use – ask a dental practitioner to advise on the most suitable specially-formulated products. Mark as important all dental health appointments.

In addition to lowering foods that contain high amounts of sugar including sugary fizzy drinks (also look out for sugar-free alternatives as these fizzy drinks are highly acidic), reduce how often you consume these foods and drinks. Avoid hidden sugars as well so it is worth taking the time to learn the different names of these sugars.

For more information on the dangers of sugar to oral health or what more you can do to protect your dental health, get in touch with highly skilled dentists at your local practice.

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