Sugars and dental caries

Extract : « Free sugars* are the essential dietary factor in the development of dental caries because dental caries does not occur in the absence of dietary sugars. Dental caries develops when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars to produce acid that demineralizes the hard tissues of the teeth (enamel and dentine).

« Implementing policy measures to promote the reduction of free sugars intake is an effective way of addressing the burden and impact of dental caries globally. Policy measures include:
- taxation of sugars-sweetened beverages as well as foods with a high free sugars content – this is important in discouraging the consumption of these foods and beverages, which are contributing to increased free sugars intake, in particular in children and adolescents;
- implementing clear nutrition labelling, including the information on sugars contained in a product;
- regulating all forms of marketing and advertising of food and beverages high in free sugars to children through the use of a nutrient profile model that helps to identify products high in free sugars;
- improving the food environment in public institutions, particularly schools, through regulating promotion and sales of foods and beverages high in free sugars;
- removing all sugars-sweetened beverages for sale and service from hospitals, schools (including kindergartens and preschools), universities, public buildings and public workplaces;
- making it a priority to increase awareness and access to clean water as a drink that is ‘safe for teeth’. »

*Free sugars include all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates (WHO Guideline on sugars intake for adults and children: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/sugars_intake/en/ ). »

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