As part of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’ve been looking at four surprising foods that are bad for your teeth. We have seen that foods many of us might consider to be tooth friendly alternatives may not be as easy on our teeth as we would think. The final post in our series exposes another tricky food choice. It may come as a shock that dried fruits like raisins can be tough on teeth, and while they are packed with vitamins, they are also sweet and sticky…a double threat to a oral health.
Raisins, dates, figs and other dried fruit can be a great way to for you and your family to supplement their diet. These snacks can be kept for long periods of time, are easy to pack in lunch boxes and give large servings of fruit that may be difficult to get if fresh fruit is unavailable. But they are also high in sugar which serves to feed the bacteria that causes cavities. Moreover, this sugar tends to stay on teeth longer than the sugar from plain fruit because it sticks to the surface of your teeth and lingers in the mouth for a long period of time.
Saliva serves as your first line of defense against cavities by washing away food particles so that it doesn’t sit on your teeth. Food that stays in your mouth provides the nutrition that bacteria needs to grow, therefore the longer that food lingers the more bacteria there are to attack your teeth. Moreover, dried fruit contains exactly the kind of nutrients that cavity causing bacteria love because it is high in sugar.
Try sticking with the real thing and snacking on fresh fruit whenever possible. You might also consider giving your teeth a quick rinse by swishing your mouth out with water after snacking. Of course, you should always remember to brush and floss regularly as part of your daily routine.