By Michela Tindera

Mary Poppins may have had the wrong idea when she sang, "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." Consuming too much sugar (especially whole spoonfuls!) can mean a one-way ticket to the dentist's chair—and unfortunately, hardly anyone escapes it, new research shows.

According to a new study published in the journal BMC Public Health, sugar is the lone culprit when it comes to causing tooth decay, which is actually classified as a chronic disease. And almost everyone in the U.S. is affected by it: 60 to 90 percent of school-age children have experienced tooth decay, and adults are even worse—92 percent of people ages 20 to 64 have experienced tooth decay in at least one of their teeth, TIME reports.

Besides over-consumption of things like soda, fruit beverages, and dessert items, sugar often hides in many pre-packaged and restaurant foods you would never expect.

The World Health Organization recently decreased its recommended sugar intake from 10 percent to 5 percent of a person's daily caloric consumption, the BBC reports. But this study's authors recommend no more than 3 percent.

Several Parents editors, inspired by Eve Schaub's book "Year of No Sugar," tried a day of no sugar a few months ago. Could you and your family do it?

Photo of sugar courtesy of Shutterstock.

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