Dental health has made the headlines already this year, as Professor Nigel Hunt from the Faculty of Dental Surgery (part of the Royal College of Surgeons) has said that office cake culture is a danger to our nation’s health. It’s recently been estimated that the average Briton consumes around 700g of sugar a week, and the Faculty believes that the workplace is one of the biggest sources of it. There’s no need to panic, though – January is all about getting into better habits!
The rise of workplace cake culture hasn’t exactly caused a mass uprising in response. As a nation, we like our sweets! Branching out from cake for birthdays, many companies now have ‘snack tables’, which are stacked with biscuits and treats for employees to graze on throughout the day. So – why is this such a bad thing?
Well, every time you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth start to break down the food or liquid in your mouth, producing acid as a result, which attack the enamel of your teeth. This sounds a little scary, but your saliva is on hand to reintroduce the lost minerals, strengthening your teeth for the next time you eat. The trouble is, every time you eat, more acids are introduced to your mouth as a result of this process, meaning that your teeth have less time to recover over time. Eventually, this can cause long-term damage.
What’s more, sticky foods especially (some “healthy” cereal bars are prime candidates) leave pieces of themselves in between your teeth for longer, which means they break down over an even greater period, again leaving more acids in your mouth that can potentially damage your teeth.
You don’t have to look too hard at the main problem to find a solution. You don’t have to give up cake entirely (who does?), but just limit your sugary treats to mealtimes. It doesn’t make them any less bad for you, but it does take the pressure off your body to recover from their worst effects.
Fruit – though often overlooked – is a great way to get that sweetness fix, without consuming nearly the same amounts of refined sugar. Strawberries, apples and blackberries are all fantastic sweet-tasting treats, with very little sugar in them compared to cereal bars and other snacks. Raspberries are too, with the added bonus that there’s more fibre in them, so they’ll make you feel fuller than most sugary snacks are able to.
Coffee and tea are a major source of our sugar intake, especially given how many of us take extra sugar cubes in them. It can be surprising how quickly it stacks up – if you have three cups of tea over the course of the working day with two sugars in each, you’ve already had six cubes of sugar by the time you get home!
Giving up sugar entirely can be hard, so try and give yourself a bit of time. Fridays are always good days to let your hair down, so reward yourself for being good Monday through Thursday with a bit of milk chocolate on a Friday. It gives you an incentive to succeed, and it means that you’re not giving yourself unreasonable goals that won’t last the week.
Of course, it can be intimidating trying to get your office to cut down on sugar. The simple answer to that is – don’t! There’s no need to try and impose any rules on anyone else in the office, or worry about offending them when you refuse their own treats. After all, you get to improve your dental health, and they get more cake. Everybody wins!
You can click here to work out your daily sugar intake, or try reading our blog on easy ways to improve your dental health. Or, you can contact us on 01254 29700 to book an appointment – we’re always happy to hear from you!
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Posted on: 16th Jan, 2017