We hear a lot from various advocacy groups that modern lifestyle is the worst thing that can happen to us.    Indeed, some won't be happy until we get back to the sustainable, renewable period of 1300AD.   But modern lifestyle has at least one friend; our teeth. 

A review of studies published in a Supplement to Obesity Review examined evidence over the past 150 years and says that the effects of fluoride toothpaste, good oral hygiene and health education has overriden the effects of food on tooth decay.

Professor Monty Duggal, an author of the review explained, "Nowadays, it’s not enough to just look at what we eat when talking about tooth decay, as other factors seem to be as important. Fluoride toothpaste changes the effect that some foods have on the teeth, as do other good oral hygiene practices."

He added, "Future research should investigate a number of lifestyle factors together with different foods that might affect tooth decay. Times have changed and with that, the foods we eat, and how we care for our teeth. "

Duggal is a consultant and head of pediatric dentistry at Leeds dental institute.

The overall aim of the review was to look at the evidence for the claim that sugar was the main cause of dental caries (tooth decay). The authors concluded that out of 31 studies carefully reviewed, the majority did not find a relationship between the amount of sugar consumed and dental caries, but the frequency of consumption may be important.

Thanks to dental health education most people now know the best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, especially before going to bed. Rates of tooth decay have fallen dramatically over the past 20 years.

Article: Anderson CA, Curzon MEJ, Van Loveren C, Tatsi C, Duggal MS. Sucrose and dental caries: a review of the evidence. Obesity Reviews (2009) 10 Suppl.1, 41-54