An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what about the dentist? Does eating apples help overall oral health?
Autumn is nearly upon us, and so is apple season. As apples become abundant this season, take a moment to teach your family about how they might be a healthy part of your overall health.
Apples have long been considered “nature’s toothbrush” because their thick skins and fibrous flesh are just the right texture for the natural brushing of the teeth. In this way, the old nickname holds true. The natural fiber and thick skin act as something like a scrubbing brush to rid your teeth of plaque and build-up.
More sugar in today’s apples
HOWEVER, apples today have been bred to contain more sugar by content weight than they have in generations past. Varieties such as gala, fuji and pink lady now contain about 15% sugar. In the past, sugar content was 10% or less. When you have an apple with 15% sugar content, that apple contains about four teaspoons of sugar!
This information is reason to give pause when it comes to apples, especially between meals and especially in juice form. Research has shown that most of the decay in adult teeth comes from excessive consumption of fruit and fruit juices. For kids, this can be even scarier. Children should always drink their fruit juices in a diluted form, if at all.
The skinny on apples
The long and the short of it is that apples are exceptional foods for you teeth and gums and for your overall health, packed with nutrients, vitamins, and fiber to give you energy and with teeth-brushing texture. But they do contain sugar and acid, which can be harmful to your teeth. So follow these tips:
1. Eat your apple in one sitting. Grazing leaves more acid and sugar on the teeth for a longer time.
2. Eat apples with other foods. A slice of cheese or bread will neutralize the acids.
3. Rinse with water. Follow your apple with a water chaser to wash away acid and sugar.
4. Wait 30 minutes to brush teeth. If you brush immediate after eating an apple you risk brushing away some of your enamel.