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Dental caries (also known as tooth decay or dental cavities) is the most common noncommunicable disease worldwide.
Sugars in food and drinks play a major role in the development of dental caries. Bacteria within the plaque use the sugar as energy and release acid as a waste product, which gradually dissolves the enamel in the teeth
Severe dental caries affects general health and often causes pain and infection, which may result in tooth extraction.
Free sugars are the essential dietary factor in the development of dental caries. Dental caries develops when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars to produce acid that demineralizes the hard tissues of the teeth (enamel and dentine).
In many countries, sugars-sweetened beverages, including fruit-based and milk-based sweetened drinks and 100% fruit juices, are a primary source of free sugars, as well as confectionery, cakes, biscuits, sweetened cereals, sweet desserts, sucrose, honey, syrups and preserves.
Limiting free sugars intake to less than 10% of total energy intake – and ideally even further, to less than 5% – minimizes the risk of dental caries throughout the lifecourse.

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