The Surprising Truth About Fruit and Oral Health

Most people have heard the advice that you should eat fruit as part of a healthy diet. When compared to junk food, it's hard to imagine how fruit could be bad for your health. While fruit might seem like the healthier option when you compare it to a piece of candy, is it better when it comes to your dental health?

While there are foods with higher levels of sugar out there, when it comes to eating fruit, the outcomes for your oral health very much depend on how you eat it. Below we look at the different ways you can consume fruit and what effect they have on your dental health.

Canned Fruit

While canned fruit should be just as nutritious as fresh fruit, you need to careful of the sugar levels. Canned fruit is often covered in sugary syrup. This can make the fruit harmful to your oral health. Even cans labeled "light syrup" contain a large amount of added sugar, as this describes the consistency of the syrup, not the sugar content. You should always check the label and look out for low sugar options.

Fruit Juice

While fruit juice might taste great and seem like a healthy thing to have with breakfast, it is basically fruit with all the nutrition removed, which leaves you with a sugary water and natural fruit flavours.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit can seem like a great alternative to fresh fruit. It's convenient and easy to carry around, but unfortunately it is terrible for your teeth. When fruit is dried, most of the water is removed but all of the sugar remains. Additional sugars are also released from inside the fruit. This makes dried fruit very sticky, which means it gets stuck to teeth and gums. The sugar in the dried fruit then feeds bacteria inside your mouth, which can lead to tooth decay. To make matters worse, some manufacturers add sugar to dried fruit.

Fresh Fruit

Eating fresh fruit is good for oral health when it's consumed as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Fresh fruit also provides your body with essential vitamins needed to maintain a healthy mouth. Eating fresh fruit with hard skin, such as an apple, can actually help to remove plaque and debris from your teeth as you take a bite. For this reason, hard skinned fruits are better for dental health than soft skinned varieties. Most fresh fruit also contains a large amount of water, which can help to clean teeth and gums and fight the growth of bacteria.

To maintain your oral health, as well as watching what you eat, you should also have regular check-ups at the dentist.