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Experts take aim at sugar as a health policy concern

Sugary junk food should draw more heat when it comes to setting health policy and legislation. That’s the conclusion of experts writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, a British medical publication.

In the Nov. 28 journal editorial, the authors discussed the effects of junk food on heart health with particular emphasis on how sugary foods compromise oral health by promoting periodontal (or gum) disease—which in turn raises risk for cardiovascular disease.

“The association between oral health and CVD suggests that reducing sugar consumption may be a particularly important target for future health policy in this area,” they wrote.

Soft—or fizzy—drinks laden with sugar should draw special policy focus, the authors suggest.

“Among different types of junk food, soft drinks have raised particular concerns and are the main source of free sugar for many individuals,” the editorial says. “There is now a convincing evidence base linking poor oral health, in particular periodontal disease, to amplified CVD risk. Periodontal disease occurs as the result of untreated dental caries, which is in turn driven by a number of factors including poor oral hygiene and excess sugar consumption. It has been noted that the free sugars in fizzy drinks and other junk foods are particularly potent drivers of this.”, the American Dental Association consumer information website, has resources available to illustrate the relationship between nutrition and oral health. The site also has information on heart disease and oral health. Click the A-Z Topics section on the home page to access the topics of gum disease (periodontal disease), nutrition, and heart disease/oral health.

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