fruit can harm your teeth

Fruit – Can It Harm Your Teeth?

Fruit is one of the healthiest snacks you can choose. It provides the body with energy, a wide variety of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and can also be a good source of fibre. All types of fruit however, contain natural sugars, with some containing more than others. As such, most fruit can harm your teeth.

Fruit also contains a high amount of fructic acid which can cause damage to your teeth. Acid dissolves the enamel coating on your teeth which can lead to tooth decay. Some fruits have higher levels of fructic acid than others, with citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits sitting at the top of the list, alongside grapes, figs, mangoes and cherries.

The lowest sugar fruits tend to include berries, such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Apples and pears contain moderate amounts.

Snacking and Tooth Decay

The results of recent studies carried out by the British Dental Journal found that our increased intake of snack foods is contributing significantly to levels of tooth decay. Fruit, including fruit juices and fruit teas, are included amongst the biggest culprits. Sadly, a healthy diet does not always guarantee good oral health unless you know how to take care of your teeth effectively.

What was particularly interesting about the research findings was that those who regularly drink water with a slice of lemon, or some sort of fruit tea between meals were 11 times more likely to suffer tooth erosion.

The main issue is the acidity of fruit and fruit drinks. Sugar-free soft drinks, for example, have been found to be equally as erosive as those containing sugar.

How Fruit Can Harm Your Teeth

Sugar does not directly damage your teeth. The change in pH levels caused by eating sugar causes the damage. Consuming sugar or acidic foods reduces pH levels in the mouth, therefore making the mouth more acidic. This acid then causes tooth enamel to begin to dissolve.

Tooth decay also occurs when plaque, a form of bacteria, builds-up on and between our teeth. This sticky bacteria clings to the teeth, producing acids which have continuous contact, therefore increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Combatting Tooth Decay

You can prevent tooth decay by sticking to the following:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
  • Limiting your sugar intake and avoiding brushing your teeth immediately after eating. Wait around an hour, as brushing can brush away tiny particles of enamel which have loosened
  • Avoiding or reducing your intake of sugary and sweetened soft drinks
  • Brushing using a fluoride toothpaste which strengthens tooth enamel
  • Flossing daily to maintain gum health and reduce plaque build-up in areas where your brush cannot reach

Toothache And Cavities – Seeking Help

You should have yours and your children’s teeth checked by a dentist every 6-12 months, depending upon your levels of oral health. In the mean time, you should also seek assistance if you are suffering from any form of toothache, gum soreness, or swellings within the mouth. It is also advisable to see your dentist for advice if your gums bleed when you brush, as this can be a sign of gum disease.

Your local out of hours service also provides out of hours and emergency dental treatment. You can access these services by calling 111, where you can speak to a trained nurse who can advise you on the best course of action depending on your symptoms.