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Citrus Fruits Can Harm Your Teeth

Aug 23, 2013

We’ve heard for years about the importance of balanced diets and eating fruits that are good for us, but just because fruits are rich in nutrients and vitamins doesn’t mean they are necessarily good for our teeth. 

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Many fruits are still safe bets, but citrus fruits like oranges, pineapples, grapefruits, lemons and limes are high in acid.  All that acid can wear or break down tooth enamel, says Dr. Allison Crutchfield, Director of Pre-Clinical Education and Simulation Clinic for the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health at A.T. Still University.

“Citrus fruits, you probably want to eat as part of an overall meal, or if you are enjoying them on their own, just be careful to brush your teeth right after you eat them,” she said. “Things like mangoes and cantaloupes, these are lower in acid so that’s a better choice for the tooth enamel. Particularly if you have braces, or you are just a little bit more prone to getting a cavity or you have trouble brushing your teeth.”

Dried fruit is also hard on your teeth. “Dried fruits are actually pretty high in sugar content, and the other thing is they are very sticky, and they tend to remain on the tooth surface over a long period of time. The longer sugar is attached or in contact with the tooth surface, the easier it is to get a cavity,” Dr. Crutchfield said.

As we mentioned in last week’s blog post, it’s not the amount of sugar that makes teeth susceptible to cavities, but the frequency in which teeth are exposed to it.

Healthy foods less harmful for teeth that are low in sugar include nuts, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.  “Nuts are a good snack choice. They’re very low in sugar, so in terms of causing tooth decay, that’s one of the lower risk foods,” she said.

Vegetables are good because they activate saliva production and help clean tooth surfaces while eating them. Dr. Crutchfield says low-fat dairy is good for our teeth because it is high in protein, but low in sugar and fat. “Things like yogurt, or even low-fat cheese, any of these low-fat dairy products are great for your teeth. Especially the calcium, it does help build strong bones and teeth over time,” she said.

Regardless of your diet, brushing twice daily, flossing often and visiting the dentist regularly is the best oral defense to keep teeth healthy. The brushing and flossing are up to you, but any of our dental plans can help with the cost of dental visits.

Visit Dental Insurance Store to learn more about shopping for a dental plan and get a free quote today.

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