08 October 2019

The Oral Health Foundation is calling for Brits to ditch sugary drinks in favour of healthier alternatives, as new research shows an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study, published in Diabetes Care Journal shows that increasing your sugary drink consumption by just 100ml a day over four years will increase your type 2 diabetes risk by almost a fifth (16%).1

Researchers examined around 160,000 women and 35,000 men over a 26 year period and also found that swapping a sugary beverage with water, coffee or tea reduced a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 10%.

Previous studies have found that those with type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from other oral health problems such as gum disease.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes the study emphasises the importance of moderating our sugary drink consumption and the importance of sugar swaps.

Dr Carter says: “This study adds to a wealth of strong scientific evidence which shows that sugary drinks are not only harmful to your oral health but to your wider health too. Furthermore, it highlights how even small changes to your diet can have a substantial impact on your diabetes risk.

“This study will hopefully remind people of the importance of cutting down our sugary drink consumption. Just swapping a sugary drink for a tooth-friendly alternative such as water or milk once a day will not only help your mouth health but also slash your diabetes risk.”

In recent years, reports have highlighted just how much sugar we consume as a nation.  On average Brits consume 322 cans of sugary drinks a year, equating to roughly 2 litres a week.

It may come as no surprise then that tooth decay remains a startling problem, especially among children. Public Health England report that nine out of ten hospital tooth extractions among young children are due to preventable tooth decay.

Dr Carter adds: “As consumers it’s very important that we take responsibility for what we’re putting in our mouths. That means that we should all be checking the labels of the foods and drinks we buy to make sure that we’re sticking within the recommended daily limit of 30 grams of added sugar a day.

“If in doubt, plain still water is the best ‘tooth-friendly’ way of quenching thirst, without putting our health at risk.”


1. Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier et al. (2019), Changes in Consumption of Sugary Beverages and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Subsequent Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Results From Three Large Prospective U.S. Cohorts of Women and Men, American Diabetes Association, DOI  https://doi.org/10.2337/dc19-0734 [Accessed October 2019]