Ask the Dentist: Let's take back control regarding our health and the harm sugar does

Lucy Stock, dentist at Gentle Dental Care in Belfast, says the teeth are a window on our health and what's clearly visible is that we eat far too much sugar

An increase in sugary drink consumption is positively associated with the risk of developing certain cancers
Lucy Stock

THE ads would have you believe that guzzling down the fizzy stuff brings happiness, smiles and fun but the reality is vastly different. A recent study in the British Medical Journal has found a link between the amount of sugary drinks we consume and cancers.

They looked at over 100,000 participants and found that an increase in sugary drink consumption was positively associated with the risk of people developing certain cancers.

On average we are consuming 322 cans of fizzy drinks a year. There's roughly 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can so that's about 60 teaspoons of sugar that people are drinking in a week.

Sugar loading in the body leads to weight gain which in turn increases your chances of getting cancers like oesophageal, pancreatic, colon, breast, kidney, liver and gallbladder.

Your teeth are a window to what's happening inside your body. So if your teeth are in a poor state of decay then this is flagging up that your underlying health probably needs improved too. Teeth decay because there's an imbalance in your body and too much sugar. If the hardest substance in the body, enamel, rots due to sugar then it's understandable that the soft structures in our bodies take a hammering from it too.

In society normal has shifted to where we have lowered our expectation of what is healthy. We have drifted into ideas such as if we don't feel pain then our body is healthy, that the doctors can and should fix us no matter what and that sickness is normal as we age.

A change in focus to where we are responsible for our own health and believe that we can make ourselves healthy will lead to improved health much better than taking medicines. We don't need to sleepwalk into disease – disease is not inevitable.

This type of study linking fizzy drinks to cancers can be scary but it's also empowering as we can effectively help to treat ourselves. By changing our eating and lifestyle habits, who wouldn't want to take back control and reduce the odds of one in three of us getting cancer, of developing type 2 diabetes or of having to deal with the pain of decayed teeth?

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