Fruits are nature’s perfect food, right? Full of vitamins and antioxidants, they are considered part of a well-balanced diet. Fruit promotes a strong heart and immune system. In both popular culture and in the home, it is rare to hear someone knock the value of this nutritious, delicious food. Yet in some circumstances, fruits can have a negative impact on oral health—specifically, the condition of the teeth.
As a general rule, consumption of any fruits high in citric acid (e.g., lemons, limes and grapefruit) should be limited, including the lemon and lime juice added to your favorite drink. The acids have the ability to attack the teeth for up to an hour after consumption. Not only do citrus fruits irritate mouth sores but if eaten on a regular basis, these fruits erode tooth enamel, which can expose dentin and cause sensitivity issues and tooth decay.
Avoid sticky fruits, too. This is especially important if dried fruit is a staple of your diet. Dried fruits tend to be stickier and are likely to stay on teeth longer than other foods, increasing the level of tooth exposure to natural sugars and acids. This increases the production of plaque, which can cause tooth decay or dental erosion.
With their ability to cleanse bacteria from tooth surfaces, apples have been considered good for oral health. But their crunchy texture can result in chipped or cracked teeth. Your children don’t need to avoid apples altogether; rather, take the time to cut apples into small slices so they are easier to chew.
Practicing moderation and maintaining a healthy oral hygiene regimen will mitigate the immediate consequences of eating fruit.