Will you be eating less sugar this National Smile Month?

Having a healthy smile can benefit you socially as well as in your career and relationships.

Your teeth also help you chew food, talk and speak clearly, plus they give your face its shape. So doesn’t it make sense to give your oral health the best care possible?

Held each year in the UK from mid-May to mid-June, National Smile Month has three key messages for better oral health:

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Visit the dentist regularly – as often as they recommend.
  • Cut down on how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks.

Indeed, some of us may be drinking fewer sugary drinks thanks to the introduction of the sugar tax, which came into force in April 2018. The tax adds 18p per litre to the price of fizzy drinks with a total sugar content of more than 5g per 100ml, and 24p per litre to drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.

A recent survey by market research company Mintel suggests many of us are trying to cut down on sugary foods too. The survey suggests 52 per cent of British people say low sugar content is important when looking for healthy foods, compared with 45 per cent who say they look for foods low in fat and 42 per cent who look for foods low in salt. People aged 55 and older are even more keen on reducing their sugar intake, with 62 per cent saying foods with less sugar are a priority.

Tips for eating less sugar

If you’re trying to reduce your sugar intake, here are some tips from the NHS you may find helpful:

  • If you eat cereal for breakfast, try switching to a lower-sugar one – swapping a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal for plain cereal could cut out 70g of sugar from your diet over a week (that’s around 22 sugar cubes).
  • Can’t get used to the taste of low-sugar cereal? Try adding some chopped dried apricots or a sliced or mashed banana. Or wean yourself off sugary cereals gradually by mixing sugary and non-sugary cereal in the same bowl.
  • Watch out for condiments and sauces such as ketchup, which can have as much as half a teaspoon per serving (go for low-sugar versions or try to have them less often).
  • Stir-in sauces and ready meals can contain lots of sugar too – a third of an average-sized jar of pasta sauce can have more than 13g of sugar (around 3tsp). Check food labels before you buy and choose a sauce or meal with the least amount of sugar – or if you have the time, make your own with no sugar.
  • Satisfy your chocolate cravings with a lower-calorie instant chocolate drink, and swap biscuits for oatcakes, oat biscuits or unsalted rice cakes.
  • If you can’t live without cake, have a plain currant bun, a fruit scone or a slice of malt loaf instead of your usual slice.
  • Fruit juice may sound like a healthy alternative to sugary fizzy drinks, but juice can be high in sugar too. Restrict your juice intake to 150ml a day or less.

For loads more tips on keeping your teeth and gums healthy, have a word with your local Careway pharmacist. Pharmacies stock a range of oral health products, and your pharmacist can help you choose what you need to keep your smile looking wonderful.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.

National Smile Month runs from May 14 – June 14, 2018.