Why snacking on fruit can be bad for your health?

ap blog snacking on fruit feature image

While snacking on healthy food mid-morning and mid-afternoon may be good for our metabolism and overall health, opting for fruit may not be the best decision for your teeth. While praised for its health benefits, fruit, unfortunately, isn’t so kind to our teeth. Today we’re looking at how fruit can impact your oral health and other tooth-friendly alternatives you could snack on instead.

The downside of fruit

Sugar and acid are both well known for their damaging effects on teeth. While sugar can cause decay, acids strip away the tooth enamel – and once it’s worn away it doesn’t regenerate. Many fruits have a high acidity content – meaning those who eat lots of it are putting their teeth at real risk. Grapefruit and lemons are perhaps the worst choices you could make when it comes to tooth-friendly snack options. They cause the most damage due to their high acid content.

What’s more, fruit has become significantly less tooth-friendly over the last decade, with its sugar content rising by up to 50% over recent years. New crossbreeds of fruit, designed to taste extra sweet, are almost as bad as teeth and fizzy drinks. And while apples such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Cox’s Orange Pippin contained 10-11% sugar 10 years ago, the typical modern apple is said to have a sugar content of up to 15%. That’s the equivalent of four teaspoons of sugar!

Dried fruit, just like fresh fruit, also poses real problems. While they might not be as acidic at citrus fruits, they’re usually bursting with sugar. This means they not only adhere to teeth easily, but the sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth. In turn, this leads to dental erosion.

While you may think that brushing your teeth after a sugary snack – like fruit – may resolve the problem, it actually causes more harm than good. As the enamel on your teeth will already been in a softened state – due to the acid attack – brushing your teeth will just result in scrubbing away at the delicate enamel.

We’ve created an infographic featuring fruits containing the highest and lowest amounts of sugar.

Incorporating fruit into your diet

While the risks of excessive fruit consumption are clear, especially when it comes to modified fruits or citrus fruits, the health benefits are clear. If you want to include fruit in your diet, eat it with a meal – for example with a bowl of porridge or as part of a balanced lunch.

The problem with snacking on fruit is that it’s likely to increase the number of acid attacks on your teeth throughout the day. With each acid attack lasting for 20 minutes, it’s likely you’ll constantly be topping up those acid levels if you graze on fruit throughout the day.

Tooth-friendly snack ideas

If you do want to eat a snack, opt for something alkaline. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Cheese
  • Raw vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Breadsticks

For more tips and advice or oral healthcare, visit your AP Smilecare dentist. You can book your appointment by giving us a call on 01254 297 000.

What healthy, tooth-friendly snacks do you always carry around in your bag? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @APSmilecare

Posted on: 17th Aug, 2015