Fruit is a fantastic snack, and can be a great addition to a healthy diet. But, sometimes fruit can be unhealthy for teeth and be a destructive force on tooth enamel.
Citric fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons and tangerines have a high amount of acid in them that can lead to tooth enamel erosion. Enamel erosion leaves teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. If your child enjoys citrus fruits, ask that they rinse their mouth out with water after snacking to wash the acid away, and help prevent cavities from forming.
Dried fruit is a food that you should avoid if you’re trying to improve your child’s oral health. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Let’s use prunes as an example. Prunes are just dried plums, except just one cup of prunes contains more than 400 calories and 45 grams of sugar. However, one plum contains just 75 calories and 16 grams of sugar. The bottom line is that you should choose fresh fruit and not dried fruit.
Sugary Fruit Juice
Fruit juice may seem like a good alternative to sodas and other sugary beverages, but fruit juice often contains as much – if not more – sugar than some of the leading sodas. Fruit juice has been extracted from the fruit, and in the process, it loses a lot of its nutritional value. After the fiber has been taken out of juice, what’s left is essentially sugar and water. Limit the amount of sugary fruit juices your child consumes, or, dilute juice with some water to reduce the sugar concentration.
Fruit Packed in Syrup
A lot of canned fruit is packed in a syrup that contains unhealthy amounts of sugar. The added sugar can lead to cavities, and many more health issues if your child eats it too frequently and in large quantities. When you are shopping for canned fruit, look for those that have no added sugar or those packed in 100% fruit juice. But the healthiest way to enjoy fruit is by eating fruit that hasn’t been altered in any way.
What Makes Fruit Unhealthy for Teeth?
There are a few indications that a fruit may be unhealthy for teeth. One of the main things to look for is sugar content. Some of the worst offenders are mangoes, cherries, grapes, pears, watermelon and figs. Fruits that contain less sugar, and are healthier for teeth are: cantaloupes, papayas, raspberries, and strawberries. Before adding fruit into your family’s diet, research about the nutritional content online. Try to add fruit that’s high in fiber, contains a good amount of vitamins, and is low in sugar.
Ask Your Pediatric Dentist
Consult your child’s pediatric dentist about the best foods for their oral health. By keeping their primary teeth healthy, you can prevent cavities in the incoming adult teeth, and give them a head start on a healthy adult smile. Don’t have a pediatric dentist? Visit our search page to find a pediatric dentist near you!