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Sugar: How do you get patients thinking about it?

Blog Author Onkar Dhanoya

Blog Date 21/10/2015

Principal dentist, Dr Onkar Dhanoya, shared with us how the practice team have been engaging with their patients to get them thinking about sugar and oral health as part of our ongoing campaign to cut sugar consumption.


What have you done within practice to raise awareness of sugar consumption?

Stanley Dental has introduced special clinics offering prevention, diet and oral hygiene advice to patients every three months, to motivate them to maintain good dental health habits between check-ups. As part of this, patients are given a questionnaire to fill out, so that their dentists can learn about what they are eating and drinking, and can advise them how to cut down on their sugar intake.

Stanley Dental is also very active within the community and has visited local primary schools to host workshops for children, explaining the effect that sugar has on teeth. Additionally, children have paid visits to the practice on school trips to meet the dentists and learn about what treatments they carry out in their surgeries.

The Osborne Dental Group has also filmed an in-house video​ offering advice about how to keep your teeth healthy and which foods to avoid.  The video is one of several clips on the group’s YouTube channel, which patients can refer to for advice about a range of topics – from mouthwash to wisdom teeth.

The group spreads the word about the risks of high sugar intake on social media, and backs the work of Dr Aseem Malhotra – cardiologist and adviser to the campaign group Action on Sugar. Currently, Dr Onkar Dhanoya, as regional chair of the LDC, is using Twitter to campaign for the documentary @thatsugarfilm, to encourage North East venues to show the sugar film which has been shown in Parliament and is to be screened in the North East.

Dr Onkar Dhanoya is also on the board of the Faculty of General Dental Practice, which is among the organisations calling on the Government to explore the scope for using sales taxation and advertising restrictions to counter the damage done by high levels of sugar consumption.

Lastly, Osborne Dental promotes National Smile Month in the community every year.

How have your patients responded to what the practice is doing to raise awareness?

The clinics at Stanley Dental are well-attended and patients particularly appreciate the one-on-one time with their dentist to analyse their diet, so that they can pinpoint where exactly they are consuming too much sugar. What has repeatedly come to light is that the term ‘no added sugar’ in fruit squashes and other products is very misleading for patients. They assume they are making a healthy choice but fail to recognise that there is often still a high amount of sugar in these products

Feedback from the school visits has been extremely positive. Parents have commented that their children have come home from school asking for new toothbrushes and have been taking much more of an interest in their teeth-cleaning routines.

What benefits have you seen from your activities?

Patients have been very receptive to the information. When they are educated personally about the dangers of sugar intake and see how it affects their teeth – and their overall health – on an individual level, they are then encouraged to make changes to their diet. By keeping track of their progress every three months in the clinics at Stanley Dental, patients are then able to see improvements first-hand, which in turn gives them the motivation to keep going with their improved dental care routines.

Similarly – when parents see their children taking an interest in dental care following Stanley Dental’s visits, it has in turn encouraged them to schedule checkups on a regular basis and to keep the whole family engaged in good dental hygiene habits.

BDA Good Practice

BDA Good Practice is a framework for continuous improvement that helps you build seamless systems and develop a confident and professional dental team. For more information on working towards membership please visit BDA Good Practice or call 020 7563 4598.

The BDA campaigns on sugar and the impact on children’s oral health, visit for more information.