Whether your office is celebrating a birthday or another important milestone, you’ve probably enjoyed the occasional sweet treat at work. Enjoying cakes and other sweets at work has become the norm in many offices. This “cake culture” has continued to become more and more popular in offices around the country.
According to a study from the Royal College of Surgeons, workplace cake culture is a major contributing factor for poor oral health and obesity. Of course, these two issues can severely impact your overall wellness on their own. Combine both of these health issues and you have a recipe for disaster. To explain more about this topic, Dr. Edward Gottesman of PerioNYC gives his readers here in Manhattan, NY an in-depth look at cake culture and the connection between oral health and obesity.
The Rise of Office Cake Culture
Dr. Nigel Hunt, the Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, recently spoke at an annual dinner of dentists in London about cake culture. He attributes many of the dental problems we see in adult patients to sugar consumed while at work.
“It is particularly dangerous that this is lying around the office all day for as we know, sugar has a particularly negative effect if it’s eaten outside of mealtime,” Hunt warned.
The real danger behind cake culture is believing that it is harmless. Celebrating special occasions or rewarding your staff with sweets seems to be a universally enjoyable experience for everyone. However, bringing in cakes, cookies or other sweet treats for every special occasion can quickly add up and severely impact your employees’ dental health. Other dangerous factors of cake culture include:
- Peer Pressure: Employees can feel pressure to indulge in these sweets each time someone brings in treats
- Frequently Bringing Sweets: If you work at a larger company with more employees, chances are that you will have more opportunities to indulge in sweets due to more birthdays or other celebratory occasions.
- Indulging in Sweets Throughout the Day: With treats readily available, employees can snack on sweets over a longer period of time, which will also increase their odds of tooth decay and other dental health concerns.
The Connection Between Oral Health and Obesity
Consuming too much sugar won’t just affect your oral health! Frequently treating yourself to sweets in the office will also have an effect on your waistline. While the overall health concerns of obesity are obvious, most patients are surprised to find out that obesity is also linked to additional problems with oral health. These two major health concerns can then feed into one another and worsen both conditions.
A study from the University of Rijeka found that “an increased body mass index (BMI) was also related to dental health, especially periodontitis.” Researchers found that subjects of the study with a higher BMI also had worse dental health, regardless of their oral hygiene routines.
With the prevalence of obesity in this country, this is a critical issue to keep in mind when taking care of your smile and overall wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of the adult population in the U.S are obese. Other conditions related to obesity include, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers believe that obesity is related to poor oral health and gum disease because individuals with higher body mass will produce higher levels of inflammatory proteins. Inflammation is a key component of poor oral health and gum disease.
So, how can we combat this common problem in the workplace? Hunt explained at the annual event that completely getting rid of sweets isn’t a realistic solution. Instead, he recommends buying smaller portions, bringing in sweets less frequently or opting for veggie or fruit trays to snack on.
As you can see, sugar consumption in the workplace can lead to serious oral health issues. If you’re currently dealing with any dental concerns, we are here to help! We offer a range of dental services including dental implants, periodontal disease therapy, and more. For more information on our services, contact our office in Manhattan, NY today!