A survey from the British Dental Health Foundation has looked at our favourite condiments to enjoy at barbecues this summer and has found that what we relish may actually be doing a lot of harm to our teeth as we tuck in during the fine weather.
Ketchup was found to be the most popular, winning 34% of the vote, with BBQ and mayonnaise (21% and 20%, respectively) completing the top 3. Next came chilli (13%), mustard (8%) and brown sauce (4%).
The warning from these popular condiments, however, is their strikingly high sugar content. Well-known ketchup brand Heinz, for example, is made up of one fifth sugar, a major cause of tooth decay. Others contain far more with a typical 100g of chilli sauce containing 43.2g of sugar and a typical BBQ sauce containing 28.9g per 100g.
Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the BDHF, said: “The British summer is a wonderful and unique time we all relish, and in the few days that the rain clouds clear a barbecue is undoubtedly a big part of this, some of us don’t even wait until the umbrellas are down.
“What is unavoidable though is the fact that a lot of our summer favourites are surprisingly high in sugar which, from the point of view of dental health, could mean big problems for our teeth.
““By no means should we stop indulging in our summer favourites but it is important that we are aware of what is in them so we can make an informed decision. Remember, it is how often we have sugary foods and drinks that cause the problem so it is important that we try and reduce the frequency of consumption.
“My advice to you all this summer is to drink plenty of water, especially directly after eating. Water neutralises the effects of acidic and sugary foods and also removes food particles left behind on and between the teeth. This also has the added effect of helping you to stay hydrated. Some products even offer low sugar varieties, which may be a better option.”