Washington, D.C. — ADA President Carol Gomez Summerhays, DDS, this week thanked the US Food and Drug Administration for its decision to require that food packagers highlight added sugars on nutrition labels. The ADA urged the FDA to take this step in comments filed with the agency in 2014 and again in 2015.
“We applaud FDA for giving consumers another tool to make informed decisions about the food they eat,” said Summerhays. “For years, we’ve encouraged consumers to monitor—and minimize—their added sugar intake. Now they can do so simply by reading a nutrition label.”
“We know that a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks can damage teeth, but unfortunately research on the sugar-caries (cavities) connection over the long-term is limited,” Summerhays said.
The ADA has called for greater scrutiny of added sugar’s effect on oral health. In lobbying Congress to provide adequate research funding for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, for instance, the ADA has cited the need to understand the effects of added sugars and other sweeteners on oral health.
“We need more data about the extent to which dental caries rates fluctuate with changes in total added sugar consumption, and over what periods of time,” Summerhays said.
While more research is critical, the ADA believes the FDA’s recent action on food labeling will go a long way toward helping Americans monitor, and hopefully limit, the amount of added sugar they consume.