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Stick to Whole Grain Carbs for Oral Health

We know to advise our patients to limit—or say no to—the consumption of sweetened drinks and candy, but have you educated them about the risk of processed carbohydrates?

CarbsWe know to advise our patients to limit—or say no to—the consumption of sweetened drinks and candy, but have you educated them about the risk of processed carbohydrates? A review of research commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides all the evidence you need to inform your patients that starch poses a risk to oral health.

The report, “Effects of Starch on Oral Health: Systematic Review to Inform WHO Guideline,” published in the Journal of Dental Research, indicates the public should avoid processed carbohydrates, especially if sweet, and opt for whole grain carbohydrates.

In a review of 33 academic papers on starch and oral health, investigators found an association between more processed forms of starch and an increased risk of caries. However, no association was indicated between the total amount of starch consumed and tooth decay.

The papers included studies of foods containing rapidly digestible starches (eg, white bread, crackers, pretzels) and slowly digestible starches (eg, wholegrains, legumes) and their relationships with dental caries, periodontal disease, and oral cancer.

According to current WHO guidelines, free sugar intake (sugars that are added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus those naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices, and fruit juice concentrates) should be reduced to less than 10 % of total calorie intake, and further reduction to less than 5% for additional health benefits.

Research commissioned by the WHO will be used to inform the forthcoming carbohydrates guideline.

To learn more about a nutritional approach to caries prevention, click here:  http://www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/ddhnoright.aspx?id=19279&term=sobrinus

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