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How much sugar is hiding in your trolley during Covid-19?

Peninsula Health Community Dental Program is taking precautions to protect patients in the Covid-19 environment.

As we all stay home as much as possible during the current Stage 4 restrictions, it can be all too easy for us to stock up on comfort foods when making a permitted trip to the supermarket.

But even those foods we think are healthy could be adding to sugar to our diet, without us even knowing.

This Dental Health Week (August 3-9), the Australian Dental Association Victoria wants us to take a closer look at the processed foods we’re dropping in the supermarket trolley – and think about ‘How much sugar is hiding in your trolley?’

Peninsula Health Acting Community Dental Program Manager Rachael Gallagher points out many people think a little extra sugar isn’t such a big deal, but most are taking in far more than they realise.

“We know the average Australian is consuming 14 teaspoons of sugar a day – well above the maximum six teaspoons a day recommended by the World Health Organisation,” says Rachael.

“Many of the staples we buy each week at the supermarket might appear to be healthy on the surface, but often carry more sugar than we realise.”

“It’s the sugar from the foods and drinks we consume that is taken up by decay-causing bacteria living on the surfaces of our teeth.”

Reducing sugar consumption can be made much easier by making small dietary changes.

“Drink water wherever possible – as much as you can.” says Rachael.

“Not only is water good for you, it’s sugar free and in most areas contains fluoride. So drinking fluoridated tap water is a really cost-effective way to try and prevent tooth decay.”

Limiting the amount of sugar in your diet ultimately begins by looking at the nutrition labels on food and beverages you purchase.

“The aim is to have no more than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams. If there’s more than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams, than it’s worth looking at alternatives,” says Rachael.

“Choosing healthy foods is one way you could be doing that, like eating more fruit and vegetables, healthy snacks that protect your teeth – low fat yogurt for instance.”

Rachael believes in addition to making healthy choices at the supermarket, there are good oral health practices everyone can be doing.

  • Brushing – Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing – Clean between your teeth daily using floss or interdental brushes.
  • Say “Hello!” to your dentist – Visit the dentist regularly – every 6 to 12 months – for check-ups and preventive care.  Please wait until it is safe to do this.

Peninsula Health’s Community Dental Program is open during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Please call us on 9784 8184 if you are experiencing pain,” says Rachael.

“Our dentists are offering telehealth calls.  We are also offering advice on how to care for your teeth and gums at home during the pandemic.”

“We have extra safety measures in place.  Staff and patient safety are extremely important to us.  We may look a little over dressed with masks, shields and gowns on.”

For more information on Peninsula Health dental services, visit https://www.peninsulahealth.org.au/services/peninsula-health-community-health/community-dental-services/.