With so much produce in season right now, it’s a good time to consider the effects of fruit on your smile.
Not only are fruits better for you than sweets, but they can also reduce your cravings for sugary snacks. Most fruits are mouth-friendly, especially crisp ones like apples that help clean plaque from your teeth and freshen breath. However, some fruits may have surprising effects on your smile.
Highly acidic fruits
Lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, grapefruits and grapes are all high in acid, which can wear down your tooth enamel and leave them more vulnerable to cavities. The acid found in these fruits can also irritate mouth sores.
These fruits all contain vitamin C – an important antioxidant that can help prevent gum damage and fight bacteria. However, you can substitute much less acidic fruits like cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelons and bananas, that are still high in vitamin C.
While blueberries are one of nature’s superfoods, known for their antioxidants, their violet coloring can leave super stains on your tooth enamel. Other delicious berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries can also stain your teeth.
It’s best to brush your teeth (or rinse with water if your toothbrush isn’t handy) right after enjoying berries.
Whole fruits are a better choice than fruit juice. Fruit juice is a much more concentrated source of sugar and sometimes acids as well. The juicing process also removes the beneficial fiber found in whole fruit. If you do drink fruit juice, swish with water immediately after.
These fruits sometimes contain added sugar and they’re sticky. That means they cling to your teeth, keeping sugars in contact with your teeth longer, which can lead to tooth decay.
Because they still have many healthy nutrients, you don’t need to give up acidic fruits entirely. Just make sure you:
- Enjoy them in moderation.
- Don’t leave them in your mouth for long periods.
- Eat them at mealtime rather than snacking on them throughout the day to minimize the time your teeth are exposed to acids.
- Rinse with water and chew sugar-free gum afterward to help get rid of lingering acid.