Prof. Aubrey Sheiham
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Medical School
Studies from Prof. Aubrey Sheiham of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of the London University have proved that sucrose is the main responsible for caries problems with adults and children. He thinks that caries, as any other disease, may be triggered by many agents, which is the reason for its multifactorial character. Studies don't deny that other factors can cause the disease, but they just add to the devastating harm sucrose may cause to teeth. According to Prof. Sheiham, sucrose levels higher than 28 g per day can be considered as toxic agents to teeth. This statement is clinically and epidemiologically asserted by establishing the inter-relation existing between the amount of sucrose consumed and the occurrence of caries in animals and in human beings. "The reduction of sucrose consumption to half its amount would benefit oral health status and it is unlikely that any harm to health as a whole may occur", stated Sheiham.
Researches have proved that extracellular synthesis of polysaccharides of the plaque depends on a large concentration of sucrose. A diet based on sucrose increases caries occurrence reaching high levels during childhood and adolescence. The study has concluded still that sucrose causes caries more than starch does. As there is a strong correlation between amount and frequency of sucrose consumption, the decrease in the amount consumed would be associated with the decrease in the frequency of consumption. Although bearable, the amount of 28 g per day per person is still a large one. Thus, any amount larger than that can be considered toxic to oral health. WHO's recommendation to reduce sucrose consumption is based mainly in the fact that diets with high levels of sucrose only tend to be harmful to one's health.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
University College London Medical School
66-72 Grower Street, London WC1E 6EA