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A Healthy Balanced Breakfast Can Protect Your Smile

January 16, 2017

 

But what is a healthy breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for you and your children. A nutritious breakfast helps you fulfil your vitamin and mineral needs, stimulates your brain and body and helps to stop the ‘snacking’ later in the day.

Surprisingly, some of the most popular breakfast choices can potentially damage your smile.

A survey conducted for Public Health England (PHE) found that the majority of parents (84%) considered their child’s breakfast as healthy, but that was not the case. Even the ‘healthier’ breakfasts contained the equivalent of 3 or more cubes of sugar. This is an alarming fact, taking into account the worrying increase of obesity amongst kids and adolescents in England. According to Public Health England (PHE), children consume half the daily recommended sugar intake before the morning school bell rings. Of course, the high sugar intake will not only affect only the kids’ weight but also their oral health.

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The link between frequent consumption of free sugars and tooth decay is well known. However, we do not typically eat sweets for breakfast; yet we choose popular cereals, drinks and spreads, which are full of sugar. Some of these sugars are hidden! Away from the breakfast table children and adults are also consuming too much sugar, saturated fat and salt in items such as confectionery, biscuits, muffins, pastries and soft drinks. These all contribute to an unhealthy diet.

Change4Life campaign has been launched by PHE to inspire a broad coalition of peo4lifeple, including the NHS, local authorities, businesses, charities, schools, families, community leaders – in fact anyone working with families or individuals – to all play a part in improving the nation’s health and well-being by encouraging everyone to eat well, move more and live longer.

The 10 top-tips for Healthy Breakfast Choices and Smart Swaps for Healthy Alternatives are:

  1. For a healthy start to the day, swap sugary cereals for plain porridge, plain wholewheat biscuit cereals, or plain shredded wholewheat.
  2. Avoid sugary cereals, muffins, and breads. The bacteria in our mouth converts sugars and starches from food into harmful acids that can attack our enamel for 40 minutes or more after we’ve finished eating.
  3. Cut back on sugary snacks by swapping cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sweets for fruit, plain rice cakes, toast with lower-fat spread, fruited teacakes or a bagel.
  4. Include a serving of dairy. Pair breakfast with a glass of milk, or inclu4dde a side of yogurt or cheese. The calcium in dairy products helps build strong teeth and bones.
  5. Include whole or chopped fruit in your breakfast. Mixing some chopped fruit or berries in your yogurt or porridge is a tasty way to get your 5 a day.
  6. Cook up some eggs. Egg yolks are an excellent source of vitamin D needed to absorb calcium. Add some vegetables to scrambled eggs or omelettes to incorporate even more nutrients. It all adds up when it comes to your 5-a-day!
  7. A quarter of the sugar we have every day comes from sugary drinks. Swap juice drinks and flavoured milks or milkshakes for water, lower-fat milk, unsweetened coffee or tea or diet drinks. If you would like to sweeten your coffee or tea consider swapping the sugar for sweetener.
  8. Even fresh juices and smoothies are typically high in sugar. They can also be quite acidic. This can lead not only to tooth decay but also to enamel erosion.
  9. Watch out for HIDDEN SUGAR! Hidden sugar is sugar that has been added to fruit and drink to sweeten it. It could be added by the food manufacturer, cook or chef or by you at home. It doesn’t just mean the sugar you add to your tea; it also includes honey, syrups and fruit juice nectars.
  10. CHECK FOOD LABELS

Some food labels have traffic light coloured labels to show the sugar content. Choose more greens and ambers, and fewer reds.

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Red means this food is HIGH in sugar. Think about how often you choose it and how much of it you eat.
Amber means this food has a MEDIUM amount of sugar. This makes it an OK choice, although going for green is even better.
Green means it’s LOW in sugar, which makes it a healthier choice.

You can still tell if products are high or low in sugar by looking at the amount per 100g/ml on the nutrition information panel.

       FOOD
High sugar: 22.5g or more per 100g
Low sugar: 5.0g or less per 100g
DRINK
High sugar: 11.25g or more per 100ml
Low sugar: 2.5g or less per 100ml

The Change4Life campaign has produced a simple to use app ‘The Be Food Smart App’. Scan barcodes using the app to find out how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in food and drink. It is great fun for kids too!

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Too much sugar can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside that we can’t see. This fat around vital organs can cause weight gain and serious diseases in the future like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Having too much sugar can also cause tooth decay. At Dee Shapland Dental we offer individualised sessions for yourself and your kids with our Oral Health Educator, who can analyse your dietary habits and give you personalised advise on how you can reduce your risk of getting tooth decay and achieve a healthy balanced diet.

Learn more about the  Change4Life Campaign and find out the Facts about Fruit juices.

This Blog has been written by Anastasios Plessas, Associate Dentist

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