Fruit is bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and all the nutrients our bodies need in order to boost immunity, fight diseases, keep us regular, and build healthy skin, hair, and nails. But fruit isn’t good for everything.
While fruit is one of the more healthful snacks we can enjoy, fruit also contains startlingly high amounts of sugar and acids which can pose a threat to the precious enamel protecting our teeth.
It’s therefore normal to ask “is fruit bad for your teeth?”, and so in the quest for cavity-free pearly whites, we’re exploring how we can continue to enjoy the sweet taste and even sweeter health benefits of fruit, while minimising the risk of cat-tooth-strophe.
What sugar and acid do to your teeth
The potential impact that fruit can have on our teeth is larger than many of us realise, and affects our teeth in two major ways.
First, the sugar that makes fruit so yummy can linger on the surface of our teeth, feeding bacteria that nibbles away at enamel. Meanwhile, the acid contained in many fruits like pineapples, grapes, and oranges can also soften enamel, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Sadly enamel does not regenerate.
When enamel breaks down, it’s called “erosion”, and signs to watch out for include increased sensitivity, discolouration, rounded teeth, transparency and cracking.
Cutting down on risks
Is fruit bad for your teeth? It can be, but by doing the right thing, we can go on the defense against long-term problems. The good news is that there are plenty of easy ways to minimise the impact of sugar and acid on your teeth.
One easy swap you can make is to choose low acidity and low sugar fruits, things like berries, peaches, and apples, fruit that will provides a good dose of your daily vitamin and antioxidant hit without hitting teeth hard. Meanwhile the super sweet and sour fruits that contain large amounts of sugar and acid should be eaten in moderation, such as pineapple and mango.
Water is also a great way to cut back on the sugar left by fruit, rinsing your mouth out with water after munching on that delicious fruit.
Eating over drinking
Another really important tip is to eat the whole fruit and avoid fruit juice at all costs. Whether pre-packaged or freshly squeezed, juice packs in all of that enamel-eating sugar and acid without any of the fibre that fills you up.
If you must drink fruit juice, drink it through a straw and rinse your mouth with tap water directly afterwards to neutralize your mouth’s pH and dilute the leftover sugar in your mouth.
So, is fruit bad for your teeth?
Answering this question can be complicated, so like all good things, we turn to the eternal life lesson: it’s best in moderation.
While the sugars and acids found inside can do harm, they can also do a wealth of good. In fact, the nutrients found inside fruit help to keep us healthy and able to fight off diseases, including that of gum disease.
Moderating your fruit intake, rinsing with water, and practising healthy habits will ensure that your smile will last for years to come. And remember, there are plenty of great foods for you other than fruit. Make sure your fridge is stocked with some and you’ll be right.