Sweet snacks can be one of the fun perks of office life, from morning donuts to cake brought in for birthday celebrations to leftover holiday desserts left in the kitchen for all to enjoy. Yet this “cake culture” is contributing to tooth decay, according to Professor Nigel Hunt, PhD, dean of the faculty of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons.
“Managers want to reward staff for their efforts, colleagues want to celebrate special occasions, and workers want to bring back a gift from their holidays,” said Hunt. “But for many people, the workplace is now the primary site of their sugar intake and is contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health.”
In 2014 and 2015, 64,984 adults were treated in hospitals in the United Kingdom for tooth decay, Hunt said. Snacking on sugary and starchy food and drinks during the day, particularly between meals, can be especially dangerous as the bacteria in plaque feeds on those carbohydrates to produce acid that causes tooth decay. Yet Hunt doesn’t feel legislation is necessary to stop the threat.
“I’m not saying we need to ban such treats. But we do need a change in culture,” Hunt said. “When people are going out to the shops and buying cake and sweets, they should at least consider buying smaller quantities and making them only available with lunch meals. Ideally, office workers should consider other alternatives together like fruit platters, nuts, or cheese.”
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