All our lives we’ve been told that we should ditch the junk food and eat more fruit and vegetables. But, while you may think that you are doing your body a favour eating lots of vitamin-packed fruit, your teeth could be suffering as a result.
Why does fruit harm your teeth?
There are two things found in fruit that cause damage to your teeth.
- Fructic acid: This affects the enamel on your teeth by eroding it down and causing decay.
- Sugar: The natural sugar in fruit changes the pH levels in your mouth so that it becomes more acidic. This in turn dissolves your tooth enamel and leads to decay.
Different types of fruit have different levels of fructic acid and sugar, so how damaging a piece of fruit can be varies.
Some of the worst types of fruit for your teeth because of their high acid or sugar content include:
- Citrus such as lemons, limes and grapefruit
- Blue plums
- Dried fruit
- Fruit teas
- Fruit juices
Dried fruit may seem healthy, but because of its texture, it sticks to your teeth. Fruit teas and juices are highly acidic, so if you must have these, drink through a bamboo or wooden straw so that there is less contact with your teeth and then rinse with water afterwards.
So, if you love fruit, how can you protect your teeth?
Cutting fruit out from your diet completely would be a shame since it does provide your body with so many nutrients and it is much better for you than junk food when you need a snack.
You can still have really sweet or sour fruits like mango, grapes or pineapple, but eat these in moderation rather than all the time, and make sure to rinse your mouth with water after.
And of course, don’t forget your standard dental hygiene practices to give your teeth the best chance of fighting decay. This means:
- Brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Brushing after consuming sugary, acidic or sticky foods to reduce the damage to your tooth enamel.
- Flossing at least once a day to remove food particles from those hard to reach areas.
- Visiting your dentist or oral health therapist regularly to ensure your teeth are healthy and any problems can be picked up early on.
Fruit that is actually good for your teeth
There are actually some types of fruit that are known to be good for your teeth including:
- Strawberries:Strawberries contain a natural tooth whitener called malic acid, and you can make your own whitening paste at home by mixing baking soda with the fruit.
- Apples:Eating an apple at the end of your meal is beneficial because the chomping action encourages saliva production to rinse away food and bacteria. Plus, the rough texture of apples gently massages your gums.
Just because many fruits have a high acid or sugar content, it doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on eating them completely. Just make sure to eat in moderation, rinse your mouth with water after eating and keep up with your dental hygiene routine.