Sugar: The Link to Obesity and Poor Oral Health

8 Dec

In today’s society, food has become more than a human necessity. It has now become a staple in social events, a comfort after a long day at work, or a pastime to alleviate boredom. Normally, the foods we choose to indulge in during the occasions mentioned above, tend to be high in simple carbohydrates, also known as sugar. What is worse, is that 68% of people experience sugary cravings every single day. An abundance of sugar in the diet (both in the form of natural sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup) can spark weight gain, but it also negatively affects our liver, slows our metabolism, impairs brain function, and may increase susceptibility to heart disease, diabetes, even cancer. Through extensive research on the effects of sugar on the brain, it was found that sugar increases dopamine in our bodies the same way that cocaine does. Some scientists argue that sugar is, in fact, more addictive than drugs.

How Sugar Affects Teeth

Certain harmful bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars we eat and in turn, create acids that destroy our tooth enamel (the outer layer of the tooth). There is a bacterial infection created by acids which can create holes in your teeth that we call cavities. Without treatment, cavities can progress past the enamel and into the deeper layers of the tooth, causing pain and possible tooth loss.

The “Root” Cause

So why do we continue on showering ourselves and the people we love with copious amounts of sugary treats? In a speech by Professor Hunt with the Faculty of Dental Surgery, he states, “Managers want to reward staff for their efforts, colleagues want to celebrate special occasions, and workers want to bring back a gift from their holidays. But for many people the workplace is now the primary site of their sugar intake and is contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health.” He goes on to add, “Cake culture also poses difficulties for those who are trying their hardest to lose weight or become healthier – how many of us have begun such diets only to cave in to the temptation of the doughnuts, cookies or the triple chocolate biscuits?”

The best thing we can do is to help support each other to make healthy eating choices. Instead of bringing Timbits to work, try substituting a fresh fruit or veggie tray! We all need to pitch in and stay motivated to live a healthy lifestyle!

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