Dental Health Week 2020
Time to take a closer look at your supermarket purchases. They’re not as healthy as you might think.
Being healthy is something that most of us aim for. We brush our teeth twice a day. We go for a jog around the neighbourhood. We eat a handful of nuts instead of chomping on a chocolate. We see our doctor whenever we feel unwell.
But are you aware that all your good work could be easily undone by the alrming amount of sugar lurking within many of the processed food items you consume?
Sugar is everywhere in processed foods found on supermarket shelves, even some that might appear to be healthy on the surface or marketed to us as being healthy.
This Dental Health Week (3 – 9 August) we’re pulling back the sugary curtain to show you what’s really in the food you eat, and how this information can help you be healthier all over but especially in your mouth.
In other words, we want you to become more “sugar savvy”.
Dental Health Week is an annual event run by the Australian Dental Association which aims to make everyone aware of the key things they need to do to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Hiding in plain sight
You might think that a little extra sugar here and there isn’t such a big deal, but it’s likely that you are taking in far more than you realise. Figures show that the average Australian is consuming 14 teaspoons of sugar a day, a whole lot more than the maximum six teaspoons a day recommended by the World Health Organisation for increased health benefits such as decreasing the risk of tooth decay and other chronic diseases, like heart disease or diabetes.
For Dental Health Week, we want to show you how easy it is to keep your teeth and gums healthy by following a few simple tips. Take a look at this short video:
What causes tooth decay?
Protecting teeth against tooth decay is a balancing act
- Certain mouth bacteria that live on the surface of teeth consume the sugar we eat and turn it into acid.
- The acid sits on the surface of the teeth and pulls minerals out from the tooth’s surface causing it to weaken.
- This process happens every time we eat or drink.
- If these acid attacks occur over and over again and there is not enough protection provided to the teeth, this can result in tooth decay.
That is why we should limit our sugar intake.
How to protect your teeth:
- Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Consume no more than 6 teaspoons / 24 grams of added sugars per day.
- Clean between your teeth once per day.
- See the following leaflet for more information:
Hidden sugars in everyday foods can cause your sugar consumption to add up quickly…
Did you know that a glass of juice and bowl of cereal for breakfast can equal 6 or more teaspoons of sugar? To find out how much sugar is in a food package, we need to be able to read the nutrition label. Look at the value for sugar per 100 grams. If the number is greater than 15 grams, consider finding a similar article with a lower sugar content. Ideally look for foods and drinks with less than 5 grams per 100 grams of sugar, but less than 10 grams is acceptable.
By making some small changes we can really reduce our sugar intake:
Easy Sugar Swaps For Breakfast
- Swap sugary cereals for Weet-Bix or Vita Brits and sweeten with fresh fruit.
- Swap flavoured yoghurts for Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit.
- Cook up a frittata or some mini frittatas for breakfast to grab and go.
- Have some hard boiled eggs on hand in the fridge – mash with mayonnaise and spread on toast.
- Swap jam and Nutella for cream cheese, Vegemite, nut butters, avocado or mashed banana.
- Fry leftover veggies and serve with a fried or scrambled egg.
- Try Vegemite with cream cheese or Vegemite with avocado on toast.
- Cooked breakfasts don’t need to take long – scrambled eggs can be made in the time it takes your bread to toast and will keep you feeling full.
Easy Sugar Swaps For Lunch
- Swap jam and nutella sandwich fillings with vegemite.
- Use protein for sandwich fillings like ham, chicken, cheese, tuna or peanut butter to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- Pack hard boiled eggs for a filling side dish or add it to a salad.
- Try cheese sticks, carrot sticks and nuts as quick and easy sides.
- Fill a small bottle with water and freeze to serve the dual purpose of keeping the lunch cool and providing the ideal drink.
- Try sliced cheese and apple sandwiches for a healthy option with some natural sweetness.
- Swap store bought salad dressings with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
- Swap a juice box with a piece of fruit and water.
Easy Sugar Swaps For Dinner
- Cut back on tomato sauce portions or if your kids can’t help themselves, swap it with a tomato sauce which has less added sugar.
- Beware of BBQ sauces – they’re packed with sugar.
- Try expanding your condiments to include non-sugary options like mustard.
- Swap sugary salad dressings for olive oil with lemon, mustard and/or vinegar.
- Sugary stir fry sauces include lemon chicken, teriyaki, BBQ, sweet and sour, and honey soy.
- Try homemade stir fry sauces using soy, garlic and ginger which is naturally sweet.
- Check tinned vegetables for added sugar.
- Learn how to read labels and check anything that comes in a package – we’ve spotted added sugar in tinned fish, bread, baked beans, olives, tinned vegetables and “healthy” frozen meals.
Easy Sugary Drink Swaps
- Remove sugary drinks from your house to avoid temptation.
- Swap juice with a piece of fruit and water.
- Sports drinks are unnecessary for all ages. Swap sports drinks with sliced fruit and water.
- Avoid store bought smoothies – instead, blend a banana or berries with some milk and cinnamon.
- Take a drink bottle with you whenever you leave the house.
- Remember you can often buy a single serve drink carton of plain milk at convenience stores.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines advise us to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day and to drink plenty of water. We should limit sometimes foods, which are those foods with little or no nutritional value and are often high in sugar and salt. More information can be found here.
- Reading food labels – Download Fact Sheet
- Have you ever wondered how much sugar and energy you consume from drinks? Enter your details to find out – Download Sugar Calculator
- Find our sugar and it’s effects – Download Fact Sheet
- Download a fun teeth brushing chart for kids – Download Chart
For emergency dental care call DPV Health on 1300 234 263.
DPV Health Dental Locations:
Broadmeadows: 42-48 Coleraine St, Broadmeadows VIC 3047
Epping: 187 Cooper St, Epping VIC 3076
Whittlesea: 40-42 Walnut St, Whittlesea VIC 3757
Craigieburn: 55 Craigieburn Rd, Craigieburn VIC 3064 (Temporarily Closed)