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Be sugar savvy this Christmas!

16th December 2019

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a festive hot chocolate or latte festooned with whipped cream and sprinkles – but you might want to think twice about making it a regular habit.

santa hot chocolateA new report from Action on Sugar lays bare just how sugary some Christmas beverages can be. The nationwide survey, which analysed both the sugar and calorie content of the largest available sizes of hot chocolates and seasonal lattes made with milk and milk alternatives (i.e. oat, almond, coconut, soya, rice-coconut) by popular high street chains, revealed certain seasonal beverages contain almost as much sugar as three cans of Coca Cola!

The worst hot chocolate ‘offender’ is Starbucks’ Signature Caramel Hot Chocolate with whipped cream (venti size) using oat milk, with 23 teaspoons (93.7g) of sugar and 758 calories. When it comes to sugary seasonal lattes, Starbucks again ranks the highest with its Gingerbread Latte with Oat Milk which is bursting with over 14 teaspoons of sugar (56.6g) and 523 calories per portion – the equivalent of eating 17 custard cream biscuits.

One of the most interesting findings from the survey is how much extra sugar non-dairy alternatives such as oat milk can contain. If Starbuck’s Gingerbread Latte was served with their almond milk instead of their oat milk, this would reduce the sugar content by 4.5 teaspoons of sugar (18g).

Dr Saul Konviser of the Dental Wellness Trust charity says: “The findings are deeply concerning especially given that many children also consume these festive sugary drinks which are not only bad for their overall health but also their dental health. Every day, at least 100 children are in UK hospitals having rotten teeth pulled out because of decay caused by sugary food and drinks that is entirely preventable.”

So, the message to all our patients this Christmas is, succumb to temptation if you must, but only once, and give your teeth a thorough clean afterwards!

Don’t brush straight away – it’s best to wait for an hour. Other things you can do to reduce sugar damage is to have a sip of water afterwards, use sugar free gum, or eat some cheese! These all help to neutralise the acid that has been caused by the sugar and bacteria.

For more information visit our Oral Health Education Suite.

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