What Is Fruit Doing to Your Teeth?
Eating healthy foods is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. The food that you put in your body has a drastic effect on the way you feel and the way you look.
Clearwater Dental Associates, right here in Clearwater, FL, wants to make sure you are eating well and taking care of your teeth, so here are some things to consider when deciding on what to eat.
There is no doubt that eating fresh fruit is good for you. We’re are by no means going to suggest that anyone should cut fruit out their diet. In fact, we want to point out the benefits of including lots of fresh fruit in your eating habits.
Healthy Fiber – Fruits is loaded with healthy fiber, which has multiple benefits to your general health, including your dental health. Chewing fruits that are high in fiber stimulates your mouth’s production of saliva. Saliva is your body’s natural defense against tooth decay and staining. Not only does it help wash food particles off of your teeth, it actually contains bacteria fighting properties that will help protect your teeth from decay.
So, chewing is good for your teeth. That’s why you don’t want to peel an apple. Just wash it thoroughly and let the fiber in the skin do it job as you chew.
Fiber also aids in digestion and helps your body to process sugars, and while you can take a variety of fiber supplements, they are not nearly as effective as natural food fiber.
Vitamins – Obviously, one of the main main benefits to eating fruits is the vitamins they provide. These vitamins are essential for your general health, with has direct relationship with your oral health. For instance, oranges contain Vitamin-C, which boosts your immune system and helps you recover from colds and other common ailments more quickly. Any time you get sick it has an effect on your teeth. Often, when you are sick, you aren’t eating right, so you become dehydrated, which inhibits your mouths production of saliva. Without saliva to protect your teeth, the bacteria in your mouth can grow freely and cause decay. Also, if you are sick enough that you are vomiting, stomach acid can get on your teeth and weaken the enamel, further increasing the risk of decay.
It is also worth mentioning that the medication to treat certain illnesses can have negative side effects for your oral health, like dry mouth and even tooth discoloration.
So, it is important to eat healthy foods, so that your body is better prepared to protect you when illnesses arise.
The Not So Good
Fresh fruit is not the perfect food, though. Eat it to stay healthy, but be aware of some of the risks it poses to your smile.
Citrus – As we mentioned above, Vitamin-C is an important aspect of a healthy diet, and citrus is a good source of Vitamin-C. Citrus also contains a lot of healthy fiber, but that is not all it contains. Citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges, contain high levels of acid. Citric acid weakens the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the hard shell on the outside of your teeth, and if it weakens, then it is less effective in fighting decay.
Oranges are less high in acid, compared to lemons and limes, but it has more sugar, which also promotes tooth decay by feeding the bacteria that cause it.
Dried Fruit – Raisins and prunes may seem like a sweet treat, healthy alternative to candy, but all that sweetness comes from sugar. The real problem with dried fruit, however, is the texture. Dried fruit is chewy and sticky, which makes it stick to your teeth and hard to get off. Even water and saliva have hard time getting this sticky sugar off of your teeth, especially when it gets caught between your teeth.
Fruit Juice – Remember when we said how great chewing is for your teeth? Well, when you drink fruit juice, you are getting the sugar and acid from the juice with the healthy fiber and without generating saliva to protect your teeth. It’s okay to drink fruit juice every now and then, but it is no substitute for the real thing.
Home Dental Care
As we mentioned before, you should continue to eat fresh fruit as a part of a healthy diet, just be aware of the downside and be sure to exercise some moderation and practice some good home health habits.
Drink Water – The most important thing you can do to protect your teeth form the sugar and acid in fruit is to drink plenty of water. It will help keep sugar particles off your teeth, while diluting the acid and hydrating your body.
Brush and Floss – Of course you should brush and floss every day, twice a day, but you need to be careful about when you brush. Do not brush directly after eating something that is high in acid, like citrus. Doing so may damage your enamel and create bigger problems down the road.
Come to Our Office
At Clearwater Dental Associates, we want you to enjoy a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit, just make sure you are taking steps to protect your teeth while feeding your body.
Contact us today to schedule an examination to find out what the food you eat is doing to your smile.