February is National Dental Health Month, so we’ve decided to put together a series of blog posts that cover four surprising foods that are bad for teeth. The first one is a recent food trend that may not be as healthy as it seems.
The recent trend of squeezable, pureed fruit has put fruit and vegetable pouches in the hands of millions of toddlers and young children. The packets come in a multitude of tasty combinations and are often labeled as organic or all natural. And while having your children eat pureed fruits and vegetables is a better alternative to other convenient snacks, they may not be as tooth friendly as you would think.
First, the packets are very high in sugar. Gerber’s organic apple puree has 11 grams of sugar, for example. And other flavors contain as much as 20 grams of the sweet stuff. That’s as much as a carb conscious adult’s daily allowance.
Paul Casamassimo, research director for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, told NPR in a recent piece they did on squeezable fruit, that the “constant exposure of sugar on their teeth is detrimental.” He worries that beyond the occasional snack, parents might be tempted to let their child walk around with the pouches.
Squeezable fruit is also different than a simple piece of fruit in that it is concentrated and lacks much of the fiber that normal fruit has. This concentration causes a lot of food to come packaged in a small serving. The texture of these foods tends to stay on teeth longer, giving bacteria more time to grow.
Unless parents are active in making sure that their children brush twice a day and rinse with water after eating, children who frequently consume these snacks run a greater risk of cavities. That means it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant in the fight for healthy smiles!