Many people are confused about the role of fruit in dental health. Some natural health experts claim that the vitamins found in fruit are essential for every aspect of health, but other people worry about the effect of fruit sugars on tooth decay. If you're not sure whether to tuck into that juicy apple, these key facts may help to address some of your concerns.
1. Whole Fruit Won't Harm Your Teeth
Fruit contains a lot of sugar, but studies show that people who eat more fresh fruit are less likely to develop cavities than those who exclude it from their diet. This could be because the sugars in whole fruit are bound up inside the fruit cells, where they are less accessible to oral bacteria. In addition, some dentists claim that natural fruit and vegetable fibres could help to remove stains from teeth, which may have a mild whitening effect. In conclusion, you can enjoy all the whole, fresh apples you like without worrying about your teeth.
2. Be Careful With Fruit Juice
If whole apples are a tooth-friendly food, does that automatically mean apple juice is also good for your dental health? Unfortunately, the benefits of juice aren't as clear cut. Juices typically don't contain any of the beneficial fibre found in whole fruit, even though it may still be high in vitamins. Furthermore, the juicing process liberates sugars from inside the cells of fruit, allowing bacteria to feast on them and multiply. It's fine to enjoy a glass of orange or apple juice every now and again, but whole fruit is a much better option for getting your daily fruit fix.
3. Fresh Fruit is Better Than Dried
If you have fillings in some of your molars, it might be a good idea to steer clear of dried fruit. Raisins, dried cranberries, prunes, and other dried fruits can become sticky when chewed, which means they can stick in your teeth and even pull out a loose filling. People who have dental braces should also be careful with dried fruit. It can stick in hard-to-reach places behind the wires, where the highly concentrated fruit sugars can encourage bacterial growth. Fresh fruit may be a safer option, as it is less sticky and contains a lower concentration of sugar.
4. Don't Brush Right After Eating Fruit
Almost all fruits contain acids, which can soften the hard enamel coating that protects your teeth. If you brush your teeth soon after eating an orange or drinking a glass of juice, the scrubbing motion could remove the topmost layer of enamel from your teeth, leaving them more vulnerable to decay. Dentists recommend waiting 30 minutes after eating or drinking something acidic before you brush.