Caries and the consumption of Fermentable Carbohydrates

December 19, 2018 6:18 pm

A preliminary study has shown how useful it is to classify orthodontics patients into different stages of change in order to focus on improving the oral hygiene habits of those who are considered to be at the early stages of this classification.


Caries is an infectious disease that destroys hard dental tissues and is caused by the effects of acids produced by the microorganisms that make up dental plaque(1). Although the aetiology of caries is multifactorial, it is closely linked with diet. The high consumption of fermentable carbohydrates is associated with an increased occurrence of caries(2), so “controlling” consumption thereof helps to prevent the onset of this disease.

One of the difficulties we encounter in our attempt to effectively control the consumption of fermentable carbohydrates is knowing the composition of the foods we eat and the real amount of sugar they contain. For this reason, it is recommended to read nutritional information labels, which will give us a breakdown of the composition and sugar quantity that they contain.

Sugar content of packaged foods

On product labels you can see the sugar content per 100 grams and, in some cases, which of all these hydrates are sugars. It is recommended that most of the products that we buy do not exceed 10% in sugars:

HIGH: 10 or more grams of sugar for every 100 grams.
MEDIUM: Between 2 and 10 grams of sugar for every 100 grams.
LOW: Less than 2 grams of sugar for every 100 grams.

If it is not specified which are complex hydrates and which are sugars (simple hydrates), we can refer to the ingredients. On the list of ingredients, these should appear in decreasing order (in order of importance) according to their weights at the moment in which they are incorporated into the product during the production process.


We must educate patients with regard to the most adequate consumption of “simple sugars”. Knowing the composition of food and the amount of carbohydrates contained therein will help us to control the onset of dental caries.

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