Amidst all the controversy over the transfer to Channel 4, and the loss of Mary, Sue and Mel, the nation is still gripped by this year's series of The Great British Bake Off. The amateur baking competition is now in it's seventh series on BBC One, and continues to be watched by millions. It might be the Bakewell Tart that caught your attention, or maybe biscuits are more your thing. One thing is for certain: it's hard to sit through and episode without craving a sweet treat. We all know that high consumption of cakes and biscuits can cause havoc for our waistlines. However, could our increased interest in baking have consequences for our oral health as well?
Whether it’s a muffin or a Madeira, one thing is plain to see: all these recipes have a high sugar content. Over recent years, there have been numerous calls to reduce the recommended daily intake of sugar for many health reasons. However whilst we are surrounded by temptation, is it really that easy to reduce our consumption? And what dangers does sugar actually pose for our teeth?
When we consume sugary foods or drinks, some of the sugar remains in our mouth for a considerable period of time after we've consumed our last mouthful. Over time, this can cause holes (cavities) to form in our teeth. This happens due to the chemical processes that occur in our mouth areas. In our mouths, lots of different bacteria can be found. When these bacteria come into contact with the surplus sugar, they convert it into acids. These acids are harmful and cause tooth decay. As this decay worsens, cavities can start to develop. Therefore, the more sugary foods (cake!) and drinks you consume, the more surplus sugar there is in your mouth. You will therefore be at a greater risk of experiencing tooth decay.
As well as the obvious culprits such as cakes, sweets and chocolates, there are many foods available that are less obviously laden with sugar. Foods such as dried fruit, tomato pasta sauce, bread and fruit juices all have a high proportion of sugar in them. You will also find that foods that describe themselves as 'fat free' can sometimes have a high sugar content. For example, some yoghurts describe themselves as '0% fat' but they contain over 50% of your recommended daily sugar intake. So whilst reaching for a yoghurt might seem like a healthy snack decision to be making, you may need to think again.
If you're still craving a sweet treat and eyeing up the offerings of The Great British Bake Off contestants, we've got a few tips to help minimise the negative effects: