hidden sugars
PHE’s Eatwell Guide highlights the dangers of hidden sugars and their effects on our oral health

Public Health England has launched the Eatwell Guide to highlight the dangerous effects hidden sugars can have on our oral health.

The guide is a visual way of showing how to keep a balanced diet, whilst highlighting the negative effects fruit juices and smoothies can have on our oral health.

‘There is a real problem in getting everyone to recognise when there are hidden sugars in food or drink, which people perceive to be “healthy”; especially in things like smoothies and fruit juices, which are currently very fashionable,’ Dr Ben Atkins, trustee of the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), said.

‘Many of us are just not aware of the very high levels of sugar in some of these and that is a huge problem when it comes to our oral health.

‘People are often surprised when they continue to have problems even when they follow recommendations to brush for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, but this is due to the hidden sugars in their diet, such as in apparently “healthy” drinks and snacks.

‘All health professionals need to provide consistent and accurate information to consumers about the dangers of hidden sugars for many areas of our health, including those that address obesity and diabetes.

‘PHE has taken a valuable step in highlighting parts of the diet that we may have been unaware of as contributing to poor oral health.

‘I am calling on all of us to make sure we read the labels of our foods and drinks carefully to see exactly how much sugar we are consuming.’

Hidden dangers

The BDHF is calling for more awareness of the causes hidden sugars can have on our oral health.

The Eatwell Guide shows the government’s revised recommended proportions of food groups following the new sugar recommendations outlined by the PHE, calling for reduced sugar intake to no more than 5% of our daily energy intake.

‘We have recently seen the government introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks but there is a failure of this to cover pure fruit juices, some of which have higher levels of sugar than soft drinks,’ president of the British Society on Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), Michaela ONeill, said.

‘PHE has recognised the dangers these hidden sugars pose to our oral health and we hope its advice is heeded by the public.

‘In the last year alone more than 33,000 children were admitted to hospital for tooth extractions under general anaesthetic, this is absolutely appalling and we hope that by understanding more about what we are consuming we can start to reverse this terrible statistic.’