Big Sugar and Big Dental Problems

Almost half the global population faces tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancers. Yet oral health has been woefully sidelined in the global health dialogue, according to a 2-part Lancet series calling for an overhaul of global dental systems.

One culprit: The pervasive “treat-over-prevent” approach to dental care that fails to promote good habits like restricting sugar intake and consistent brushing.

Cavities are up in low- and middle-income countries under the growing influence of Big Sugar; diets have shifted from less-processed meals to sweetened, processed foods. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are spending billions to expand in Africa and India, NPR Goats and Soda reports.

Big Sugar also enjoys a close-knit relationship with dental research, observes a Lancet commentary that calls for reforms to undercut conflicts of interest.

Robert Weyant, a series author, thinks a global anti-sugar agenda modeled after anti-tobacco efforts is in order.

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