As many people return to work after the Christmas period, leading dentists are urging employees to cut down on the sharing of sweet treats in the office with an aim to reduce health problems.

The faculty of dental surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons has urged employers to tackle workplace “cake culture” which is contributing to the obesity epidemic and poor oral health.

The faculty is urging companies to swap biscuits for fruit and nuts in meetings, scrap the most sugary treats from vending machines and make low-sugar options more available and visible, while employees should stop snacking and eating birthday cake and other treats throughout the week.

The dean of the faculty, Professor Nigel Hunt said:

“We need a culture change in offices and other workplaces that encourages healthy eating and helps workers avoid caving in to sweet temptations such as cakes, sweets and biscuits,”

“While these sweet treats might be well meaning, they are also contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health,”

The office had become one of the main places where people consumed excessive amounts of sugar thanks to rewards from bosses and colleagues celebrating special occasions, Hunt added.

The faculty has produced a series of tip for workers to cut back on sugar, including keeping it as a lunchtime treat, hiding snacks out of view and introducing a “sugar schedule”, so if birthdays happen throughout the week, cakes are only doled out on Fridays.

The FDS also called on the government to restrict sugary food and drink price promotions and consider forcing supermarkets to replace high-sugar foods at the point of sale with healthier alternatives, using legislation if necessary.

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.