We’ve all been taught the importance of eating a balanced diet to promote great health, and fruits are always mentioned as one of the main food groups. While fruit is still very much a healthy alternative to candy, dried fruit has shown to have some adverse consequences to your oral health. Here’s a look at how eating dried fruits can lead to tooth decay.
Fruits contain a lot of natural sugar, but fresh fruit seems to have little or no damaging effects as part of an overall balanced diet. You may get cavities if you eat nothing but fruit all day long (and we’re talking an extreme amount of servings), but fresh fruit don’t lead to tooth decay nearly as much as their dried counterparts. Here are the main reasons why dried fruit is far more damaging to your teeth:
- The sugar in dried fruit is more concentrated. The process of drying fruit gets rid of almost all of the water they contain, but doesn’t reduce the amount of sugar at all.
- Dried fruit is very sticky. Since it doesn’t rinse very easily through saliva alone, the sugary treat is more likely to stay on your teeth longer, where the bacteria on your teeth can feed on them.
- When this happens, the bacteria release acid, which erodes tooth enamel and causes cavities.
- When fruit is dried, it releases a lot of the intrinsic sugars from inside of the fruit. These sugars are then available to feed the bacteria in your mouth, which can hurt your teeth.
- When you buy a package of dried fruit from the store, it can have added sugar, depending on the brand you buy. Popular dried fruit brands like Craisins contain added sugar.
When people go looking for healthy snacks to take on road trips or camping trips, dried fruit is often high on the list. While they do have some health benefits, eating them can cause oral health problems. When eating dried fruits, be sure to rinse with water afterwards and to brush and floss regularly.