Get sugar smart- How hidden sugar affects your oral health

It’s Dental Health Week August 3rd– 9th and this year’s focus is all about “how much hidden sugar is in your trolley”? and the harm sugar does to oral health.

World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the daily consumption of no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of free sugar per day.

1 teaspoon = 4 grams

Recommended daily sugar limit = 6 teaspoons or 24 grams

Hidden sugar in everyday foods can cause your sugar consumption to add up quickly…

73% of young people (14-18 years) and 47% of adults (18+ years) are consuming too much sugar.

Did you know that a glass of juice and bowl of cereal for breakfast can equal 6 or more teaspoons of sugar!

Protecting teeth against tooth decay is a balancing act.

When harmful factors outweigh those that protect the teeth, then tooth decay can form.

The low down on sugar and how it affects your oral health:

  • 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.

Don’t let hidden sugar win!


  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily using floss or interdental brushes.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit sugar intake.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and preventive care.
  • Choose foods with less than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Look out for hidden sugars when purchasing foods and drinks.

So, let’s get sugar savvy this Dental Health Week and be mindful of what you pop in your trolley at your next visit to the shops.