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Spotlight on – stress & sugar binges


More than a quarter of UK adults (28%) are turning to sugar when put under stress at work.

About 2,000 people were questioned during National Smile Month about their food choices when stressed and bingeing on sugar was the most frequent reply.
According to LinkedIn, half of workers report feeling stressed in their jobs, prompting the UK charity to call on employers to do more to help combat stress and offer more support to their employees to help them maintain good oral health.

If you are reaching for sugary snacks on a regular basis, please ensure you come to see your dentist at least every six months so that we can take extra care of your mouth, teeth and gums and spot any problems, such as decay, cavities or gum disease early.
Evidence suggests that office workers are the most likely to eat sugary foods and drinks (32%) as a result of stress. Senior professionals like doctors, solicitors and accountants are also at higher risk (31%).

In recent decades, scientific studies have found that comfort eating is actually hormone-related and fuelled by our body’s biological response to stressful situations. When put under stress, our body releases a hormone called cortisol which increases our appetite. Once ingested, fat and sugar-filled foods seem to have a feedback effect that dampens stress-related responses and emotions.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says: “Desk snacking, communal treat tables and vending machines, often filled with sugary foods and drinks, are the biggest contributors to the problem. This is causing oral diseases such as tooth decay, as well as wider conditions like diabetes and obesity.”

Healthy eating and developing a more tooth-friendly culture could include choosing snacks like cheese and nuts. Milk and water are great substitutes for juices and fizzy drinks and reducing the amount of sugar added to tea and coffee can make a big difference.

One in seven (15%) people have taken sick leave in last two years to due to oral health problems, estimating that UK businesses lose 3.6 million hours of labour every year and £52 million for the economy.