Healthy eating is an import aspect to a healthy lifestyle, and in an effort to protect your general health, you may be turning to fruit more and more often as a source of necessary vitamins and healthy fiber.
At Antoine Dental Center, we are glad that you are concerned with your health and making wise choices as to what foods you put in your body. But we also want you to be aware that otherwise healthy foods, like fruit, could be damaging your smile.
Our office in Houston wants to help you make informed decisions about what you eat, so that you can enjoy good dental health along with good general health.
Fruit Sugar and Acid
Despite the unquestionable health benefits of fruit, it still contains two of the biggest contributors to tooth decay, sugar and acid. This combination can be very harmful for teeth because sugar causes decay and acid weakens your teeth’s natural defense against decay.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that feeds on sugar. It doesn’t matter if the sugar comes from candy and soda or fruit and juice. The bacteria doesn’t care. The most popular fruits are the sweetest, which means they are also the worse for your teeth.
Your teeth’s natural defense against decay is its enamel. Enamel is the hard shell on the outside of the tooth that protects the the soft pulp on the inside, which contains tiny nerves and blood vessels. Acid, like the kind found in citrus, eats away at the enamel, making it easier for the bacteria to get to the pulp and cause infections that could ruin the tooth and even spread to other teeth.
Dried fruits, like raisins and prunes, are a tasty source of natural sugar, and as a result, they can also be a source of tooth decay. But dried fruit, in addition to being loaded with sugar, is sticky, so the sugar clings to your teeth and is very hard to get off. The sticky bits of fruit can even get caught in the spaces between the teeth.
Where as your saliva and tongue could normally do a pretty good job of keeping fruit sugar off your teeth, but when the sugar is as sticky as raisins are, they have a hard time.
Fruit juices are not the healthy thirst quencher you might think they are. When you drink only the juice of the fruit, without the fiber rich flesh, you are concentrating the sugar and acid. At least when you eat actual fruit, the action if chewing will generate saliva, which will help protect your teeth from decay. Drinking fruit juice will not do this.
So it is a good idea to treat fruit juices like soft drinks, a special treat to enjoy only once in a while.
Protect Your Smile
Tooth decay is far from the only issue of concern when it comes to eating fruit. Staining is something to watch out for, too. Dark berries, like blueberries and blackberries, are especially prone to staining teeth. The pigment in their dark juices can attach to enamel, and if the enamel has been weakened by acid, then it is more likely to stain.
However, the best way to protect your teeth from tooth decay and staining from eating fruit is very simple. Drink plenty of water. The water will wash away sugar and acid, as well as help your body produce saliva.
Brushing and flossing will also protect your teeth from decay and staining. Flossing is especially necessary for getting sticky bits of fruit out from between your teeth. Just don’t brush right after eating high acid fruits, like citrus, because it can damage your enamel.
So you don’t have to stop eating fruit. Just exercise some healthy oral hygiene routines and you can keep your smile healthy.
We Can Help
Regular professional cleanings and examinations at Antoine Dental Center will give your teeth the quality dental care they need to stay healthy. We also provide general dental and cosmetic procedures that can repair smiles that have already seen some wear and tear.
Come visit our office in Houston. Call today for more information or to make an appointment