The health benefits of fruit are well-documented, which is why they’re likely your sweet treat of choice when trying to eat well. However, there’s also quite a bit of sugar in fruit, and many of them have a high acid content, as well.
This might raise some questions for you when you’re trying to balance maintaining a healthy diet and caring for your teeth. Fruit may be an excellent source of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, but sugars and acids are two of the things that your teeth need the least.
Is fruit bad for your teeth? The answer to that question is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. That’s why we’ve put together this quick and easy guide to everything you need to know about fruit as it relates to your oral health, including how much fruit you should eat, how fruit sugar affects your teeth, and what fruits are bad for your teeth.
Sugars, Acids, and Your Teeth
Your teeth are protected by a layer of enamel that is rather tough but is still susceptible to certain substances. Two of those substances are sugars and acids. Acids are corrosive, meaning they wear away your tooth enamel when they interact with it, and sugars actually interact with bacteria in your mouth to become acids themselves, which of course, leads to more enamel erosion.
Knowing this information, and the fact that all fruit has sugar, might make you think that you should simply avoid fruit altogether if you’re looking to care for your teeth, but that’s not really true. As is generally the case, striking a balance is necessary for eating fruit and caring for your teeth. To get a better understanding of how to do that, let’s take a closer look.
Signs That Your Enamel Is Being Eroded
Keep an eye out for the following signs that your teeth are being affected by the sugars and acids in your diet.
- Increase in tooth sensitivity
- Cracking of teeth
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to speak with your dentist before it has a chance to develop into anything more serious.
Is Too Much Fruit Bad for Your Teeth?
Is fruit bad for your teeth? Well, yes, kind of, but the better question to ask is, really, “is too much fruit bad for your teeth?”
If you’re looking to protect your teeth while still enjoying all the various health benefits that fruit has to offer, you’re simply going to need to set some limits with your fruit consumption. There aren’t necessarily any definitive numbers out there to give you any solid guidelines, but balancing your fruit consumption with other non-sugary foods, and avoiding eating too many fruits with high sugar and high acid content should be enough to protect your tooth enamel.
Whole Fruit vs. Fruit Juice
Another way to avoid damaging your teeth from fruit consumption is to avoid too much fruit juice. It may taste delicious, and it even offers some of the same vitamins and minerals that whole fruit does, but fruit juice is essentially a highly condensed version of whole fruit, and so the level of sugar present in it is far higher. It’s also worth noting that fruit juice lacks the healthy fiber that whole fruits offer.
If you’re going to drink fruit juice, keep it to a minimum, drink from a straw, and rinse your mouth out with water afterward to wash away as many of the sugars and acids as you can.
Is Fruit Sugar Bad for Your Teeth?
You should know that the sugars found in fruit are not the same thing as the refined sugars you find in things like candy or soda. Fruit sugars are far and away from the healthier option, and you shouldn’t be all that worried about consuming it in moderation in the first place. But is fruit sugar bad for your teeth? (That includes sugars like refined sugars found in candies and sodas.)
The simple answer to that question is yes. Fruit sugar can be bad for your teeth. It’s not about whether the sugar is natural or refined that makes it damaging to tooth enamel. It’s the fact that sugars of all kinds will convert to acids after interacting with bacteria in your mouth.
Remember that the acids are what erodes your tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
But while fruit sugar may be equally bad for your teeth as any other kind of sugar, it’s important to note that the sugar content of fruit is substantially lower than that of soda or candy. So snacking on any kind of fruit at all is a better alternative as far as protecting your teeth goes.
What Fruits Are Bad for Your Teeth?
You know now that there’s no denying the damage that the sugars and acids found in fruits can do to your teeth, but you should also know that there are certain fruits that are a far better choice than others when it comes to caring for your oral health.
Not all fruits are created equal, and some have far more sugar and acid content than others, so leaning towards more consumption of the low sugar, low acid fruits and less consumption of those with high sugar and high acids is your best bet.
So, what fruits are bad for your teeth? Some of the most common among both of those types of fruits are listed below:
Lower Sugar Lower Acid
Higher Sugar Higher Acid
As you can see, there are plenty of fruits you can choose from that aren’t so bad for your teeth. You also don’t need to avoid the sugary and acidic fruits entirely. Just eat them in moderation and be sure to rinse your mouth out afterward.
Looking to Protect Your Children’s Teeth?
If you want to take the best possible care of your children’s teeth, they should be seeing their pediatric dentist twice a year for a routine checkup and cleaning. Contact San Diego Children’s Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.