Workplace 'cake culture' fueling obesity and poor dental health, experts warn

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  Overindulgence in office snacks can lead to obesity and tooth decay.

Posted: August 15, 2016

Between long hours, high stress and looming deadlines, it is easy to develop poor eating habits in the office. Not only do these missteps affect your waistline, they can also have a negative impact on oral health as well. One such pattern, dubbed "cake culture", is taking its toll on employee teeth. 

Cake culture is borne out of good intentions. Managers, looking for ways to reward employees or encourage hard work, bring in treats for the office to share. Or, a box of donuts is brought in to make an early morning meeting a little bit more palatable. Sometimes it's an event, such as a going away party or birthday, that leads to the whole office coming together and sharing some cake. The leftovers sit out, and people help themselves to just a few more bites throughout the day. 

Too much cake in the office can lead to tooth decay. Too much cake in the office can lead to tooth decay.

As an occasional treat, this doesn't rise to the level of a problem. As an institutional habit, however, it creates serious issues relating to obesity and dental health. Professor Nigel Hunt, from the Faculty of Dental Surgery, at the Royal College of Surgeons, discussed the problem at his organization's yearly dinner for dentists. 

"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," he said in a speech. 

Exacerbating the problem is that these snacks are often doled out between meals. When you eat sugary foods around the clock, you give bacteria the fuel they need to produce enamel-decaying acid. Over time, this has a strongly negative effect on teeth and gums. 

Hunt does not believe that it is necessary to cut out these sorts of foods altogether. Rather, the BBC reported that he feels that sugary treats should be served in small quantities and then only at lunchtime. For rewards and non-lunch meetings, there are a number of healthy foods that employers can dole out, such as cheese, nuts and fruits. 

In his remarks, he pointed out that 65,000 adults in his country require hospital treatment for issues related to tooth decay. Employees should look to do their part in reducing this number by avoiding sweet, starchy snacks in the office, and creating a culture where such treats are truly occasional.  

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