European dental experts from the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) have endorsed the new World Health Organization (WHO) sugar guidelines as an important step towards beating tooth decay. During a recent meeting in Rome, the ACFF Pan-European Chapter built on the WHO recommendations to reduce sugar consumption to below 10% of daily energy intake. The ACFF are calling for greater teaching and awareness within the professional caries curriculum of the need to provide public advice and communicate the fact that excess sugar consumption causes caries.
Professor Nigel Pitts, co-chair of the ACFF Pan-European Chapter and Director of the Dental Innovation and Translation Centre (ITC) at King’s College London Dental Institute, London, UK, said, “The new WHO sugar guidelines are a welcome step towards addressing the impact that excess dietary sugars are having on dental health. Our aim is to build on these landmark guidelines and equip dental health professionals with training and support to provide patients with practical advice.”
Professor Pitts outlined ACFF guidance at the meeting on how individuals can beat dental caries:
1. Think before you snack! Ask yourself “Am I consuming more than 50g of sugar per day?”
2. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day
3. Brush your teeth effectively to remove plaque – make sure you reach the tough spots at the back of your mouth and make sure you spend two minutes brushing each time
4. Value your teeth and change the way you think about them – imagine you can see and feel the damage being done to your teeth by constant exposure to sugar. We all spend time in front of the mirror looking after our skin and hair, so why wouldn’t you look after your teeth?
5. Act before it’s too late! – ask your dental team about your personal risk of tooth decay to learn about the ideal frequency of dental visits and additional measures to beat tooth decay.