We all know that fruit is full of vitamins and an important part of kids diets.
But did you know that too much fruit (whether it’s fresh fruit, fruit juices, dried fruit or canned fruit) can have a negative effect and contribute to problems such as cavities and erosion, especially if your kids are grazing on fruit all day?
The effects of fruit on kids teeth
You think you’re doing the right thing. Your kids brush their teeth twice a day and don’t eat too many sweet treats, so why do they still get cavities?
We look at how fruit in their diet can affect our kid’s teeth and how to help minimize the problems.
1. Fresh fruit
Fresh fruit has lots of natural sugar and some like oranges, berries, and apples are quite acidic.
Bits of fruit dentist between your kid’s teeth and if they are snacking on fruit all the time, it’s a constant source of sugar in their mouth.
2. Fruit juices
Fruit juices are high in sugar and often very acidic. The main problem with juice is that kids often sip them slowly throughout the day. This means there is a constant source of sugar and acid in their mouth.
The acidity from the juice can contribute to tooth erosion and the constant supply of sugar can contribute to cavities.
Try to encourage your kids to drink water throughout the day instead.
3. Dried fruit
Dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, mangoes, and apples are also very high in sugar. The removal of water through the drying process makes them a more concentrated sugar source than their fresh fruit counterparts.
They are also very sticky and can get caught in your kid’s teeth. This means sugar is sitting on their teeth for many hours, giving bacteria the chance to have a feast!
New studies have shown that some dried fruit such as raisins (there are particular compounds found in raisins that may help prevent tooth decay) and cranberries (they have high levels of calcium which can help strengthen teeth) may have some dental benefits in helping prevent decay.
However, once these fruits are stuck in your kid’s teeth the benefits may not be present anymore, but the sugar definitely will be.
4. Canned fruits
Canned fruits are very high in sugar, particularly because the syrup the fruit is preserved in also has added sugar.
If your kids will only eat fruit this way, make sure they eat it all at once and that they drink water straight away afterward.
Helpful tips when it comes to kids & fruit
Definitely, don’t limit or reduce your kid’s fruit intake, but instead, monitor it and don’t allow them to graze.
Floss out any bits of fruit stuck between your kid’s teeth as soon as you can.
Don’t brush your kid’s teeth straight after drinking juice or eating acidic fruits as this can wear their teeth away more quickly. The natural acid in juice and some fruit can make the surface of the teeth temporarily soft, so are more susceptible to abrasion from tooth brushing. Wait until your kids have rinsed their mouths with water before brushing their teeth.
Get your kids to drink water or swish water around in their mouth after eating fruit or drinking juice to help flush away the natural sugars and help neutralize the acids in their mouth.